ANIMAL MODEL FOR CHILDHOOD OBESITY
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Obesity has been recognized as a global health problem and linked with chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular syndromes, musculoskeletal disorders and some cancers. Children exposed to high carbohydrate, high fat, energy dense food, are vulnerable to developing chronic health conditions. On long term exposure to low nutrient quality food, childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity in adulthood (Puhl , 2012). As the prevalence of obesity increases, it is imperative to develop animal models to understand the pre-existing metabolic milestones leading up to an obesogenic condition. It is with this goal that our team has developed a juvenile animal model replicating childhood exposure to a high carbohydrate, high fat diet. To develop our juvenile animal model, three week old male Sprague-Dawley rats were weaned and exposed to cafeteria diet for 10 weeks. Our findings show that body weight increased gradually with the treated group (CAF) becoming obese and reaching statistically significant weight gain. Furthermore, the lipid profile and plasma glucose levels of the CAF group showed increases in comparison to their standard chow fed counter parts. In conclusion, an exposure to a caloric overload induces obesogenic effects indicated by changes in body morphology, by increased abdominal adiposity, blood glucose levels and lipid profile.