Obesity across generations
Obesity is defined as an excess of body fat. In the Netherlands, almost half the adult population and at least 15% of the children are overweight or obese. Even at an early age, obesity comes with health risks such as glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. In adolescents, obesity is also associated with depression. Obesity in childhood forms a basis for complications in adulthood, such as the metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Regrettably, the prevention and treatment of obesity are still in the early stages of development. Improved knowledge about the risk factors involved, is essential for the development of methods for prevention and treatment.
The department of Pediatrics of the Leiden University Medical Center has an outpatients’ clinic for children who are overweight and there is a special child obesity work group. The main goal of the clinic is to rule out a medical cause of obesity. In 2010, we started the NEO-kids (Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity in children) study. The ‘NEO-kids’ study is an umbrella term for a number of scientific research projects that are associated with the outpatients’ clinic.