Obesity rise in children may increase bone weakness

3D images: A bone scanner at the BioMedical Research Centre
3D images: A bone scanner at the BioMedical Research Centre
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IN 1990 one in 10 Sheffield children were considered overweight or obese.

Today, that figure has jumped to one in three.

Doctors in Sheffield are researching how obesity may affect how being overweight affects bones as children grow into adulthood, which may lead to an increased risk of fracture or osteoporosis.

Researchers at the Sheffield Bone Biomedical Research Unit are carrying out a study to determine how body weight and hormones affect bone structure and strength.

They are using the latest bone scanning equipment to look at the internal structure of bone in detail to determine if body weight changes how bones develop during growth.

Dr Paul Dimitri, who is leading the study, said: “We are using a specialised scanner called an Xtreme CT machine - that can provide 3D images of bones in the arms and legs to a resolution of 0.08 mm.

“This will help us to determine if childhood obesity is detrimental to children’s bones.

“There are only two of these scanners used in clinical research in the country and we are leading the way in using this scanner for children’s research.”

If you think your child may be overweight and is aged between eight and 15 years then you might be able to help the researchers - and help thousands of children in the future.

To take part, email boneresearch@sheffield.ac.uk

DOCTORS at Sheffield Children’s Hospital are leading a project to screen 430,000 newborn babies for five rare diseases.

The year-long study, which starting last month, expects to find 16 children who will be treated early enough to help them live normal lives.

Dr Jim Bonham, national lead for the project and director for newborn screening in Sheffield, said: “We are delighted to co-ordinate this pilot study knowing it has the potential to help families whose child would otherwise experience significant health problems.

“We want mums and dads to be prepared in case they are asked to take part when they have their visit from the midwife.

The five conditions include maple syrup urine disease, homocystinuria, glutaric aciduria type 1, isovaleric acidaemia and long chain hydroxy acyl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency.

Some 75,000 children will be screened in Sheffield during the project. Parents will be asked if they want to participate before having their child’s blood tests included.