SEKY December 2021 - Page 52

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Written information relating to this community ' s services and policies is available upon request . dysfunctional . They produce some inflammatory molecules , and those are toxic to the body . So people with obesity are in a chronic low inflammatory state . After it infects the host cell , SARS-CoV-2 causes an exaggerated inflammatory reaction . In combination with an already existing proinflammatory state , the hyperinflammatory reaction creates a perfect storm that damages the immune , cardiovascular and respiratory systems . So this is one of the theories that is postulated .
We also know that obesity produces inflammation of the endothelium , the thin membranes that lines the insides of blood vessels and the heart . When this membrane is inflamed , it becomes conducive to abnormal blood clotting perpetuating this chronic inflammation response . It ’ s a vicious cycle .
Concerning the respiratory system , children with obesity are more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea . They also may have decreased respiratory function due to mechanical forces related to obesity . Those forces don ’ t allow the chest wall to expand well , resulting in impaired respiratory function and an increased need for ventilator assistance . This may be another reason why children with severe obesity are more likely to end up on ventilators .
UKNow : How has the pandemic affected children ?
Radulescu : The relationship between the COVID pandemic and obesity , it ’ s a two-way road . We are aware that obesity is a risk factor for severe COVID infection . But we ’ ve also learned that during the pandemic , the rate of obesity in children has increased . That is no surprise because the pandemic environment was very conducive to that . Children were more isolated . Access to healthy food was even more limited than before . The pandemic disrupted many children ’ s daily routines ; their schedule became unstructured ; children became more sedentary . And all of these behaviors led to an increase in the rate of obesity .
In a recent study published by the Center for Disease Control , the pediatric obesity rate in 2019 was 19 %. Now it is 22 %. That same study found that the rate at which body mass index ( BMI ) increased almost doubled in the first six months of the pandemic .
UKNow : What can parents and caregivers do ?
Radulescu : It ’ s more important than ever that children with obesity adhere to preventative measures — wearing masks , washing hands and maintaining a social distance . Those who are qualified to receive the vaccine should get it .
If parents are concerned if their child has obesity , they should talk to their pediatrician . Parents should ask about the child ’ s weight status , BMI , and what they can do to help the child achieve healthy body weight .
We are more knowledgeable now than we were years ago about obesity as a disease , and we have more guidelines and recommendations on how to take care of these children .
*** The Pediatric High BMI Clinic accepts patients through physician referral .
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students , faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals . In the last two years , Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity , and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running . UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ * inclusion and safety . UK has been judged a “ Great College to Work for ” three years in a row , and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes ’ list of “ America ’ s Best Employers .” We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities . And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state ’ s top hospital for five straight years . Accolades and honors are great . But they are more important for what they represent : the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky , but the University for Kentucky .
52 • SEKY - Life in Southeast Kentucky December 2021