A new study, whose findings appear in the journal Childhood Obesity, showed that the use of a popular drug used for the treatment of diabetes known as metformin can also be helpful for managing obesity in children.
Previously, research has identified a strong association with diabetes and obesity in both adults and children. Therefore, health professionals always recommend controlling weight especially when a person suffers from or is at a high risk of developing diabetes.
In the case of childhood obesity, the treatment is particularly difficult because the child may develop health conditions that are primarily associated with older adults very early in life.
Since obesity is hard to control overall, controlling it while having a number of other diseases can make the procedure even more complicated.
Childhood obesity has been a big concern in countries around the world, particularly the Western world since it is increasing at a very high rate. More and more children are observed to have poor diets and sedentary lifestyles.
Extra weight in childhood is particularly dangerous, according to research, since it increases the chances of having heart-related problems, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes.
Therefore, doctors recommend treating the problem as soon as possible via making lifestyle changes and having regular medical checkups to note the progress of the affected child.
Not only can doing this prevent any serious health issues from developing in the future but also cut down the risk of social problems and stigma an obese child may face while growing up as studies have already highlighted that being overweight can greatly impact a child’s confidence and even academic performance.
However, at many times, doctors have also noted that changing diet may not always be enough in helping a child lose weight. Therefore, there have been a number of studies to see whether any drugs or medication can help in the process.
The new study, co-authored by Alireza Milajerdi and a team of researchers from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Tehran University of Medical Sciences accentuates the effects of using metformin in children.
The article titled “Metformin Therapy Reduces Obesity Indices in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials” shows that children who used metformin saw a reduction in waist size, Body Mass Index, weight, and fat mass.
The Editor-in-Chief of the journal Childhood Obesity, Tom Baranowski, comments on these findings, saying “Metformin, a pharmaceutical, has been a staple in the treatment of diabetes. Some have been interested in whether this pharmaceutical might also reduce body fat,”
He adds “Alireza Sadeghi and colleagues found 38 articles that tested this relationship among children and adolescents. Their important findings need to be explored in additional research, especially why metformin did not affect adiposity in some groups. These findings could be an early step in establishing the clinical use of metformin for weight management in children.”
Further investigation in the future may pave the way for metformin prescription for the control of childhood obesity. Till then, the researchers recommend watching the diet of children closely and getting treatment as soon as possible.