Obese children are more likely to develop anemia

Scientists from the University of Leeds (UK) have analyzed several thousand laboratory test results of patients aged up to 25 from 44 countries, simultaneously measuring two indicators: iron levels and weight. They found that a deficiency in this micronutrient may be linked to excess weight in children and adolescents.

The researchers concluded that the tendency towards anemia in overweight children is likely caused by chronic inflammation, which disrupts mechanisms regulating iron absorption. Moreover, it has been proven that increasing physical activity and normalizing diet can reduce inflammation and improve iron levels in children.

Iron deficiency in children negatively affects brain functions, including attention, concentration, and memory, and may increase the risk of conditions such as autism and cardiovascular disease. While this link has been confirmed in obese adults, it is being studied in children for the first time. Additionally, this study is just the first step in the chosen direction.

For medicine, it is not only the predisposition of overweight children to iron deficiency that is important, but also the influence of chronic inflammation on metabolism. In the future, this could lead to heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic-associated fatty liver disease.

Previously, scientists only looked for connections between undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. This research opens up avenues for studying deficiencies in people with excess weight and obesity, as well as those who follow a diet low in nutrients but high in energy, known as “hidden hunger.”