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Obese Children and Stress Hormones

by Ryan Halvorson on Feb 11, 2014

Making News

Today’s obese children aren’t just carrying around extra weight. According to researchers from Erasmus Medical Clinic, at Sophia Children’s Hospital in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, they are also carrying higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

The study observed 20 obese and 20 normal-weight children aged 8–12. To determine cortisol levels, researchers took scalp hair samples from each subject. Data showed that obese children had higher levels of hair cortisol than normal-weight children.

“Hair cortisol concentration, a measure for long-term cortisol exposure, was higher in obese children than normal-weight children,” the authors stated. “This suggests long-term activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis in obese children and may provide a novel target for treatment of obesity in children.”

According to information from the Mayo Clinic website, long-term elevation of stress levels can increase a person’s risk of anxiety, depression, heart disease, sleep problems and more.

The study was published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (2013; doi: 10.1210/ jc.2013-2924).

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About the Author

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson IDEA Author/Presenter

Ryan Halvorson is the chief content officer for Fit Scribe Media (; contributing editor for IDEA Health & Fitness Association; director of group training at Bird Rock Fit in La Jolla, CA; a Master Instructor for Metabolic Effect and the creator of, a lifestyle organization dedicated to finding ways to achieve improved fitness, nutrition and healthy living habits in 30 minutes or less. He is an internationally recognized speaker and has written for publications such as DETAILS and GQ.