Obesity among young children and adolescents is a serious problem in the U.S. About 18.5%, or nearly 14 million, kids between the ages of 2 and 19 are currently obese, according to CDC statistics.
In a recent study, researchers from an Italian university found that probiotics may hold promise for helping youngsters with obesity lose weight, when used along with a calorie-controlled diet.
They focused on a certain strain of probiotic called Bifidobacterium, which has been shown to play a role in protecting gut health and controlling hunger. These beneficial bacteria also aid in the digestion of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
The eight-week study found that obese children who were put on a calorie-restricted diet and given a probiotic containing two types of Bifidobacteria lost more weight and had improved insulin sensitivity compared with a control group who followed the same diet, but were given a placebo. Its findings show that probiotic supplements could help to both manage obesity in the younger population and reduce their future health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes, according to Dr. Favia Prodam, the study’s leader.