Special Issue "Childhood and Adolescent Obesity and Weight Management"

A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067). This special issue belongs to the section "Global and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Flora Bacopoulou
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Center for Adolescent Medicine and UNESCO Chair on Adolescent Health Care, First Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Aghia Sophia Children's Hospital, 1 Thivon Street, 11527 Athens, Greece
Interests: adolescent medicine; pediatrics; endocrinology; pediatric adolescent gynecology; stress; mental health; obesity; metabolic syndrome; learning disabilities; childhood cancer survivors
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Obesity is a leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with rapidly and unrelentingly increasing rates in children and adolescents. Obesity, especially that starting from an early age, increases the risk of metabolic, cardiovascular, reproductive, orthopedic, mental, allergic/autoimmune, and neoplastic diseases, and curtails life expectancy. It is strongly related to chronic stress and associated with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, polycystic ovary syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and depression. Obesity and its accompanying manifestations also negatively affect specific populations, such as childhood cancer survivors. There is an urgent need to understand all of the factors contributing to childhood and adolescent obesity in order to best implement effective treatment and prevention approaches, both of which have proven to be elusive so far.

The goal of this Special Issue of Children is to highlight recent data pertaining to the diagnosis, prevalence, etiology, treatment, and prevention of childhood and adolescent obesity and its short- and long-term sequelae. In addition, it will review the methods and outcomes of multidisciplinary body weight management programs in this age group. We welcome original research papers, meta-analyses, and reviews filling gaps in our knowledge in the above domains, as well as describing novel treatment and prevention approaches. We also encourage submissions that explore how chronic stress and physical, cognitive, developmental, and mental health conditions may impact on childhood and adolescent body weight and relate to obesity complications.

I look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Flora Bacopoulou
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Children is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • obesity
  • body weight
  • children
  • adolescents
  • insulin resistance
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • metabolic syndrome
  • polycystic ovary syndrome
  • cancer
  • stress
  • mental health.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
The Epidemic of Obesity in a Pandemic Era: Urgency to Invest in Adolescent Health
Children 2021, 8(7), 608; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8070608 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 466
Abstract
In September 2015, United Nations’ 193 member states signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the global development agenda 2030 [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood and Adolescent Obesity and Weight Management)

Research

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Article
Psychosocial Factors and Obesity in Adolescence: A Case-Control Study
Children 2021, 8(4), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8040308 - 18 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 665
Abstract
Introduction: The continuously increasing prevalence of childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. Greece is among the countries with the highest childhood obesity prevalence rates. The present study aims to identify psychosocial factors associated with excess body weight of adolescents. Methods: This case-control study [...] Read more.
Introduction: The continuously increasing prevalence of childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. Greece is among the countries with the highest childhood obesity prevalence rates. The present study aims to identify psychosocial factors associated with excess body weight of adolescents. Methods: This case-control study was conducted in Athens, Greece, and included 414 adolescents aged 11–18 years. Anthropometric measurements were recorded, and an anonymous self-completed questionnaire captured the psychosocial background, family environment, peer relations, and school environment. Results: Of the total sample of adolescents, 54.6% had normal body weight and 45.4% were overweight or obese. A multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the factors related to the presence of overweight/obesity were adolescents’ age (OR = 0.416, p < 0.001), area of residence, presence of anxiety (OR = 4.661, p = 0.001), presence of melancholia (OR = 2.723, p = 0.016), participation in sports (OR = 0.088, p <0.001), smoking (OR = 0.185, p = 0.005), and mother’s occupation (OR = 0.065, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Psychological problems, maternal occupation, the absence of physical activity, and poor school performance were associated with adolescent overweight/obesity. It is important that screening for the presence of psychosocial issues is included in childhood obesity policies and treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood and Adolescent Obesity and Weight Management)
Article
Cyberbullying and Obesity in Adolescents: Prevalence and Associations in Seven European Countries of the EU NET ADB Survey
Children 2021, 8(3), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8030235 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 758
Abstract
Background: overweight and obese individuals may often face aggressive messages or comments on the internet. This study attempts to evaluate the association between cyberbullying victimization and overweight/obesity in adolescents participating in the European Network for Addictive Behavior (EU NET ADB) survey. Methods: a [...] Read more.
Background: overweight and obese individuals may often face aggressive messages or comments on the internet. This study attempts to evaluate the association between cyberbullying victimization and overweight/obesity in adolescents participating in the European Network for Addictive Behavior (EU NET ADB) survey. Methods: a school-based cross-sectional study of adolescents aged 14–17.9 years was conducted (n = 8785) within the EU NET ADB survey, including data from seven European countries (Germany, Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland, Spain). Complex samples and univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed. Results: overall, overweight adolescents were more likely to have been cyberbullied compared to their normal weight peers (adjusted OR (Odds ratio) = 1.20, CI (confidence intervals): 1.01–1.42); this association was pronounced in Germany (adjusted OR = 1.58, CI: 1.11–2.25). In Iceland, obese adolescents reported cyberbullying victimization more frequently compared to their normal weight peers (adjusted OR = 2.87, 95% CI: 1.00–8.19). No significant associations with cyberbullying victimization were identified either for obese or overweight adolescents in Greece, Spain, Romania, Poland, and the Netherlands. Conclusions: this study reveals an overall association between cyberbullying victimization and overweight on the basis of a sizable, representative sample of adolescent population from seven European countries. Country-specific differences might reflect differential behavioral perceptions, but also normalization aspects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood and Adolescent Obesity and Weight Management)

Review

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Review
The Potential Role of Exosomes in Child and Adolescent Obesity
Children 2021, 8(3), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8030196 - 06 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 813
Abstract
Child and adolescent obesity constitute one of the greatest contemporary public health menaces. The enduring disproportion between calorie intake and energy consumption, determined by a complex interaction of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors, finally leads to the development of overweight and obesity. Child [...] Read more.
Child and adolescent obesity constitute one of the greatest contemporary public health menaces. The enduring disproportion between calorie intake and energy consumption, determined by a complex interaction of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors, finally leads to the development of overweight and obesity. Child and adolescent overweight/obesity promotes smoldering systemic inflammation (“para-inflammation”) and increases the likelihood of later metabolic and cardiovascular complications, including metabolic syndrome and its components, which progressively deteriorate during adulthood. Exosomes are endosome-derived extracellular vesicles that are secreted by a variety of cells, are naturally taken-up by target cells, and may be involved in many physiological and pathological processes. Over the last decade, intensive research has been conducted regarding the special role of exosomes and the non-coding (nc) RNAs they contain (primarily micro (mi) RNAs, long (l) non-coding RNAs, messenger (m) RNAs and other molecules) in inter-cellular communications. Through their action as communication mediators, exosomes may contribute to the pathogenesis of obesity and associated disorders. There is increasing evidence that exosomal miRNAs and lncRNAs are involved in pivotal processes of adipocyte biology and that, possibly, play important roles in gene regulation linked to human obesity. This review aims to improve our understanding of the roles of exosomes and their cargo in the development of obesity and related metabolic and inflammatory disorders. We examined their potential roles in adipose tissue physiology and reviewed the scarce data regarding the altered patterns of circulating miRNAs and lncRNAs observed in obese children and adolescents, compared them to the equivalent, more abundant existing findings of adult studies, and speculated on their proposed mechanisms of action. Exosomal miRNAs and lncRNAs could be applied as cardiometabolic risk biomarkers, useful in the early diagnosis and prevention of obesity. Furthermore, the targeting of crucial circulating exosomal cargo to tissues involved in the pathogenesis and maintenance of obesity could provide a novel therapeutic approach to this devastating and management-resistant pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood and Adolescent Obesity and Weight Management)
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Review
Obesity in Children and Adolescents during COVID-19 Pandemic
Children 2021, 8(2), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8020135 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 4696
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to special circumstances and changes to everyday life due to the worldwide measures that were imposed such as lockdowns. This review aims to evaluate obesity in children, adolescents and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to special circumstances and changes to everyday life due to the worldwide measures that were imposed such as lockdowns. This review aims to evaluate obesity in children, adolescents and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A literature search was conducted to evaluate pertinent studies up to 10 November 2020. Results: A total of 15 articles were eligible; 9 identified 17,028,111 children, adolescents and young adults from 5–25 years old, 5 pertained to studies with an age admixture (n = 20,521) and one study included parents with children 5–18 years old (n = 584). During the COVID-19 era, children, adolescents and young adults gained weight. Changes in dietary behaviors, increased food intake and unhealthy food choices including potatoes, meat and sugary drinks were noted during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity associated with financial reasons represents another concern. Moreover, as the restrictions imposed reduced movements out of the house, physical activity was limited, representing another risk factor for weight gain. Conclusions: COVID-19 restrictions disrupted the everyday routine of children, adolescents and young adults and elicited changes in their eating behaviors and physical activity. To protect them, health care providers should highlight the risk of obesity and provide prevention strategies, ensuring also parental participation. Worldwide policies, guidelines and precautionary measures should ideally be established. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood and Adolescent Obesity and Weight Management)

Other

Perspective
Stress Management as an Effective Complementary Therapeutic Strategy for Weight Loss in Children and Adolescents with Obesity: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
Children 2021, 8(8), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8080670 - 31 Jul 2021
Viewed by 704
Abstract
Lifestyle intervention programs, including mindfulness and stress management/emotional control training techniques have been infrequently studied in children. The aim of this systematic review was to assess whether implementing stress management/emotional control training strategies in the context of a body weight loss program in [...] Read more.
Lifestyle intervention programs, including mindfulness and stress management/emotional control training techniques have been infrequently studied in children. The aim of this systematic review was to assess whether implementing stress management/emotional control training strategies in the context of a body weight loss program in children and adolescents is associated with improved body weight outcome in this age group. A systematic literature search was conducted to identify relevant studies published before 31 December 2020 in the following databases: Medline (PubMed), Scopus, and Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials. Only randomized clinical trials (RCTs) on mindfulness or stress management in children and adolescents with obesity were included in this systematic review. Six RCTs fulfilled the study inclusion criteria and included intervention (112 subjects) and control (137 subjects) groups. The interventions used were Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction therapy for 8 weeks (three studies), a mindfulness-based group program for adolescents (one study), and Mindful Eating Intervention for 6 weeks (one study) and 10 weeks (one study). The intervention group demonstrated reduced adiposity markers as compared to controls in four of the six included studies. The presented studies support the hypothesis that a structured, mindfulness-based intervention program may lead to a decrease in the biomarkers of obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood and Adolescent Obesity and Weight Management)
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Case Report
Vulvar Varicosities in an Adolescent Girl with Morbid Obesity: A Case Report
Children 2021, 8(3), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8030202 - 07 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 530
Abstract
Vulvar varicosities in nonpregnant females, either isolated or as a part of the pelvic congestion syndrome, are rare. We present a case of an adolescent girl with morbid obesity with bilateral bluish protrusions on the labia minora, as an incidental finding, that coincided [...] Read more.
Vulvar varicosities in nonpregnant females, either isolated or as a part of the pelvic congestion syndrome, are rare. We present a case of an adolescent girl with morbid obesity with bilateral bluish protrusions on the labia minora, as an incidental finding, that coincided with her excessive weight gain. The adolescent underwent thorough clinical examination, doppler ultrasound, contrast venography and varicography, and magnetic resonance angiography to rule out alternative diagnoses. Imaging results confirmed the presence of large venous lakes. Venous drainage to the internal iliac vein and connections with the long saphenous vein were delineated. Incompetence, dilatation, or reflux of ovarian or internal iliac veins, or their main tributaries, were not noted. Since the adolescent was asymptomatic and other pathologies, such as vascular malformations or hemangiomas were excluded, she was managed conservatively with counseling about lifestyle modification and weight reduction. This is only the third reported case of vulvar venous varicosities in adolescents. Female sex, along with obesity, are known risk factors for varicose vein formation; however, the pathogenesis is not fully understood. Additional research is needed to elucidate the role of excess adipose tissue in the pathophysiology of vulvar varicose veins and to optimize diagnostic workup and management in adolescence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood and Adolescent Obesity and Weight Management)
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