A number of studies have now linked early life trauma to obesity. A new study out of King’s College London has made findings about one of the underlying mechanisms in the body by which this happens.
Scientists identified the hormone leptin as a potentially relevant part of the process. Leptin is a hormone the healthy human body releases in response to increasing levels of fat. It reduces appetite and increases energy expenditure.
Hypothesizing that the effects of the hormone leptin may be involved in the process by which child maltreatment leads to obesity, researchers looked at a 172 twelve-year-old children, some of whom had come from homes involving documented physical maltreatment and some who came from homes without such maltreatment. They looked at leptin levels, BMI, and an inflammation marker called C-reactive protein.
The researchers found that the maltreated children had lower leptin levels in relation to higher levels of obesity and inflammation.
Stated another way, this means that children who had suffered childhood physical abuse were found to have altered hormone levels which negatively affect the body’s mechanism for regulating obesity.
This study was published on September 23, 2014 in the Journal Translational Psychology. You can read the article at this link: Leptin Deficiency in Maltreated Children.