Researchers now focusing on females to better understand how girls burn energy and to prevent borderline obesity
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana ranks high compared to national cases of childhood obesity, but more so with girls. Doctors at Pennington Biomedical Research Center are bringing in female teenagers to study key differences in girls’ bodies.
“So because those girls are the highest risk population among our youth for obesity, we are really trying to understand what they need as far as nutrition to support the activities that we are asking them to do to stay healthy,” say Dr. Nicole Fearnbach who is the assistant professor of research and clinical services for Pennington.
Pennington is looking for girls ages 13 to 17 who are overweight to sign-up for the study. The first visit they’ll be screened. The next two visits the girls will be monitored for 24 hours, including an overnight stay. The goal, to study how the girls use energy comparing how much energy they use while they’re relaxing in bed versus working out.
“So, if someone is in a position where they need to be more active you can point out and say hey with the research you just laying around in the bed, you only burn so many calories in a day. You’re in taking these many calories in a day versus when you exercise you burn this many more calories and you can be a little but healthier,” says Angelique Litsey who is the manager of the exercising testing lab for the study.
The girls’ room is a metabolic chamber where doctors can measure their breathing, and see how much oxygen they take in to keep their body going.
“Everything that we are doing in our study is based on their breathing, and how we measure it. Once, we figure it out that information, for example, how many carbohydrates they need from the exercise that they did. We can then tailor nutrition and meals for them based on their personal energy expenditure,” adds Fearnbach.
Doctors are hoping this study will highlight risks for kids who could become obese, and give more representation and information for females struggling with weight problems.
Pennington is still looking for participants to apply to be in this study. If you are interested, you can click here to see if you meet the qualifications if you would like to sign up.
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