The Relationship between Down Syndrome (DS) and Obesity in Children and Adolescents and its Relation to Dietary and Lifestyle Factors. Down Syndrome (DS) and Obesity

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Iman Bindayel


Obesity, Down syndrome, Children, Adolescents.


Down syndrome (DS) and obesity in youngsters have attracted the attention of researchers due to the higher risk of overweight and obesity among DS children and adolescents versus the general young population. This study, conducted in two Riyadh disability centers, aims to determine overweight and obesity status in Saudi DS children and adolescents and relate it to dietary and lifestyle factors. The 28 children, 20 adolescents with DS and 17 children, 10 adolescent healthy siblings (control) were assessed for obesity using anthropometric indicators and body composition analysis. Nutritional status and physical activity were determined using questionnaires. Results indicated that DS adolescents were shorter and had higher BMI (P < 0.05) while DS children and siblings were comparable in height and BMI. Using weight-for-age curves, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in DS children was at 25% and 29% respectively whereas DS adolescents had 50% and 10% respectively. Using BMI-for age curves, obesity was higher in DS adolescents versus siblings, while the children had comparable rates. No difference in nutritional status was observed between DS groups and their siblings, except for a few differences in meals, food groups frequency or dietary habits. Adolescents had few significant correlations between anthropometric indices and meals intake. The study confirms higher risk of overweight and obesity in DS adolescents and children, therefore research linking obesity to pre-disposing factors is necessary.


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