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Med Hypotheses. 2007;68(4):750-5. Epub 2006 Oct 27.

Low muscle mass--tall and obese children a special genre of obesity.

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  • 1Izun & Tmura, Integrative Health Inst., 6 Nezach Israel Street, Tel Aviv 64352, Israel. <>


The prevalence of over-weight and obesity has increased markedly in the last two decades and vast international resources have been directed toward researching these issues. Obesity would appear to be a problem that is easy to resolve: just eat less and move more. However, this very common condition has turned out to be extremely troublesome, and in some cases even insolvable. A perspective is presented here suggesting that some of the insoluble cases of obesity are the result of an inborn condition of a very low muscle mass. The interplay between less muscle and more fat tissue is discussed from physiological and environmental perspectives with an emphasis on the early years of childhood. It is proposed that these interactions lead to bodily economic decisions sliding between thrift or prodigal strategies. The thrift strategy results not only in obesity and less physical activity but also in other maladies which the body is unable to manage. What leads to obesity (less muscle, more fat) in the medial population will result in morbid obesity when the children are short of muscle tissue from the start. Attempts to lessen the consequences of low muscle mass, which might be very difficult at adulthood, can be more fruitful if initiated at childhood. Early recognition of the ailment is thus crucial. Based on studies demonstrating a 'rivalry' between muscle build-up and height growth at childhood, it is postulated that among the both taller and more obese children the percentage of children with lower muscle mass will be significant. A survey of the height and BMI (Body Mass Index) of Israeli fifth graders supports this postulation. A special, body/muscle-building gymnastics program for children is suggested as a potential early intervention to partially prevent this type of almost irreversible ill progress of obesity.

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