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High serum bilirubin lowers obesity risk in kids

20 Oct 2019

Serum bilirubin levels are inversely correlated with the risk of obesity in children, without increasing the likelihood of reduced IQ, a recent study has found.

The study included 28,489 infants, in whom serum bilirubin concentrations were measured using direct spectrophotometry or the diazo method. Measurements were collected as close to 48 hours as possible. Study outcomes were obesity and low IQ (<70) at 7 years of age.

A total of 2,406 participants were determined to have obesity, resulting an overall incidence rate of 8.45 percent.

Compared with infants who had total serum bilirubin (TSB) levels <3 mg/dL, the risk of obesity at age 7 years was lower in those with concentrations 3–6 mg/dL (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.91, 95 percent CI, 0.81–1.02), 6–9 mg/dL (adjusted OR, 0.88, 0.78–0.99) and 9–13 mg/dL (adjusted OR, 0.83, 0.71–0.98). This was untrue for those with TSB ≥13 mg/dL (adjusted OR, 1.04, 0.85–1.27).

Stratified analysis found that the concentrations of unconjugated bilirubin (UCB) shared a similar relationship with obesity risk. Relative to those with UCB <3 mg/dL, the risk of obesity at age 7 years was reduced in those with 3–6 mg/dL (adjusted OR, 0.93, 0.80–1.09), 6–9 mg/dL (adjusted OR, 0.86, 0.75–1.00) and 9–12 mg/dL (adjusted OR, 0.85, 0.73–0.99) UCB.

In contrast, levels of conjugated serum bilirubin showed a direct correlation with the likelihood of obesity, such that rising concentrations corresponded with increasing risks.

Moreover, higher TSB levels tended to increase the risk of low IQ at age 7 years, though none of the correlations achieved statistical significance. “Our findings may shed some light on investigations and interventions regarding the role of bilirubin in the prevention and treatment of obesity or obesity-related diseases,” said researchers.

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Most Read Articles
Tristan Manalac, 30 Jan 2020
Despite being mostly sufficiently active, obese and overweight children with congenital heart disease (CHD) still need to increase physical activity levels, according to a recent study.
Pearl Toh, 4 days ago
Toddlers with a longer screen viewing time were more sedentary and spent less time engaged in physical activity later in life at age 5.5 years, according to the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) study — supporting the hypothesis that screen viewing may have a negative influence on health by displacing physical activity.
10 Feb 2020
Regardless of the type, disordered eating behaviours may lead to a higher body mass index (BMI) in the long run in adolescents, a recent study has shown.
Audrey Abella, 06 Feb 2020
Clinical hypnosis is an acceptable, feasible, and promising complementary therapy in adolescents with Crohn’s disease (CD), according to data presented at Crohn’s and Colitis 2020.