August 29, 2016
Schools to help with sweet science
Schools with high proportions of Maori and Pasifika students are being targeted for a new study designed to assess how fruit sugar may contribute to childhood obesity and diabetes.
Study head Peter Shepherd of Auckland University's Maurice Wilkins Centre says there is little hard research on the biological effects of sugars such as fructose on the body.
Researchers will use a simple breath test that measures hydrogen gas to record fructose absorption rates.
Professor Shepherd says there is a wide variation between individuals in the amount of fructose that can be absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream,
He says the study could help identify those most at risk from the modern food environment, leading to more targeted interventions.
Teachers and students in of the partner schools will do some of the experiments themselves, and the tests will be linked with lessons on nutrition and health.
One in nine children between 2 and 14 are obese, including 30 per cent of Pacific children and 15 per cent of Maori children.
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