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Alarming Weight Gain Seen in Kids on Psych Drugs

CHICAGO (AP) - A worrisome effect is emerging for children on
widely used psychiatric drugs -- major weight gain and obesity.

A new study says many kids pack on nearly 20 pounds and become
obese within just 11 weeks of taking such drugs.

Dr. Christopher Varley, a psychiatrist with Seattle Children's Hospital, says occasionally, "you can actually see them grow between appointments." He says the study results are "sobering."

Weight gain is a known possible side effect of the anti-psychotic drugs which are prescribed for various behavioral problems. The new study in mostly older children and teens suggests they may be more vulnerable to weight gain than adults.

Researchers also worry about increases in blood fats including cholesterol, which, tied to weight gain, may make children more prone to heart problems in adulthood.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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