We’d seen some of the news coverage about a study in the journal of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, but we can’t review everything on HealthNewsReview.org and this is one that fell between the cracks.
However, Emily Willingham, author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to College Biology,” has taken her own significant swing at an MSNBC story on her Biology Files blog, while commenting briefly on ten other stories as well. Excerpts:
“According to the report, the study authors speculate that the recent increase in childhood obesity might trace in part to the 500,000 children who undergo tonsillectomies every year in the United States.
What the news report does not clear up is whether or not this “greater than expected” weight gain adds up to a gain into “overweight” or “obese” territory for children who were within normal weight parameters before the operation. As the piece notes, it’s likely that children who have tonsillectomies for the usual indications–repeated strep infections, breathing difficulties–might start eating more or using the energy more efficiently post-op.
The piece closes with the standard de rigeur pap that parents should watch their offspring post-op for weight gain and talk to a pediatrician if they’re concerned. The closure-satisfying implication is that the findings of this study are so, um, weighty, that they warrant a specific parental eye to those pediatric pounds after a tonsil surgery. Yes, just one more thing to add to the parental worry list, based on this report. Indeed, I’d be more inclined to caution parents to take their children to the pediatrician if the little wee one does not put on some weight post-op.
I’d have been surprised if the researchers had not found weight gain following tonsillectomy. It’s the obvious hypothesis, unlike the silly speculation that this operation might be contributing to the “obesity epidemic.” That’s just dropping in a buzz phrase in a desperate grab for clicks and eyeballs, and nothing more. In this case, it looks like the researcher carries some of the load for overreaching. Anyone want to hypothesize whether or not there are gains involved in that?”
I love to see more smart players get involved in the scrutiny of health news.