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Tonsillectomy Linked to Weight Gain in Kids

by David Gutierrez

(NaturalNews) Children who have their tonsil surgically removed early in life are significantly more likely to become overweight or obese by age eight, according to a study conducted by researchers from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, and published in the journal Pediatrics.

The researchers measured the height and weight of 3,963 eight-year olds who were participating in the Dutch Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy (PIAMA) birth cohort study. Every year up to age eight, the children's parents had filled out detailed questionnaires supplying information about height, weight, surgical procedures and a number of other factors.

Analysis of the data showed that children whose tonsils had been removed (tonsillectomy) were 61 percent more likely to be overweight at age eight than children whose tonsils had not been removed, and 131 percent more likely to be obese. This statistic remained the same whether or not the adenoid glands were also removed (adenoidectomy), and after adjusting for possible complicating factors such as sex, birth weight, breast-feeding, smoking in the home, and maternal education, weight or smoking during pregnancy.

Adenoidectomy without tonsillectomy did not increase the risk of being overweight, but did increase the risk of obesity by 94 percent.

Rates of tonsillectomy have decreased significantly since the 1950s, but the procedure remains one of the most common surgeries in children in the United States. Tonsillectomy is usually prescribed to alleviate snoring, sleep apnea and other conditions related to upper respiratory blockage. Adenoidectomy is also common, normally prescribed to alleviate restricted nose breathing or chronic ear infections.

In order to be certain that tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy were causing obesity and not the other way around, the researchers looked at obesity rates at age two, finding no correlation with later removal of tonsils or adenoids.

The researchers suspect that removal of the tonsils or adenoids may cause a reversal of previously slowed growth, leading to excessive weight gain.

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