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Pediatric Metabolic Research Program Initiatives

Benefits of Physical Activity

An important contributing factor to the development of obesity, diabetes and metabolic disorders is the trend to sedentary lifestyle.  Regular exercise is an important part of energy balance and provides numerous benefits to physical and psychological health.  Spontaneous physical activity often declines with age, from childhood and into adulthood.  However current trends point to an increasing number of people that perform very little moderate or vigorous physical activity.  Our work in this area involves measuring physical activity and energy expenditure and measuring responses to nutrition and exercise programs.

Fetal & Childhood Origins of Obesity and Metabolic Disease

The risk for obesity, diabetes mellitus (DM) and cardiovascular disease is increased in children of low birth weight and those whose mother's have DM.  Although these conditions increase susceptibility to future metabolic disease, the mechanisms involved are unclear.  Examining the effects of such perinatal stresses will define the steps that lead to future cardiovascular and metabolic disease and eventually lead to preventative measures.

Metabolic Disease in American Indians

Oklahoma was federally recognized as "Indian Territory" prior to Oklahoma statehood, and today remains the home to almost 40 Indian nations and tribes. Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus affect American Indians disproportionately, with almost half eventually developing diabetes and suffering the high morbidity and mortality associated with the condition.  Because of this, attacking the problem in American Indian Youth is an area of focus for our program.   Since 2000, the Section of Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology has partnered with American Indian nations and tribes throughout the state for clinical services and research to combat this burden of diabetes for American Indian communities.  We strive to build and maintain collaborative relationships with American Indians across Oklahoma in order to better understand the pathological processes involved and to prevent and treat diabetes, obesity, and related metabolic diseases.