Children contracting gallstones at an increasing rate, study says

Mar 15, 2016 | Life, News

Christiana Chan and Jessica Reyes

As Childhood obesity continues to grow in North America, more health concerns are developing in Canada.

A recent Canadian study made by the London Health Services Centre, shows that that gallstones are being found in children at an alarming rate, CTV reported.

Researchers from the study found a 62 per cent increase in children in Ontario under the age of 18 who underwent a cholecystectomy between 1993-1996 and 2009-2012.

Gallstones, which were originally associated with adults, are when hardened deposits of bile build up in the gallbladder.

“We need to look at actions we can take at an individual level and as a society. Making sure there’s healthy food and beverages in schools, and that we don’t have pop in schools or unhealthy food those are actions as a society we can take,” said Kate Comeau, Dietician and Spokesperson for Dieticians of Canada.

“At an individual level, things like role-modeling, healthy eating habits, healthy lifestyle habits is something we can do.”

According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, the prevalence of gallstones increases with age and obesity and 90 per cent of gallstones form because of cholesterol.

In overweight patients with gallstones, the liver overproduces cholesterol which then becomes supersaturated in the bile, the foundation says.

“There is a lot of factors that could be contributing, but unhealthy eating habits, less nourishing eating habits and other factors are definitely contributing,” said Comeau.

There is still little information on the long-term effects of gallstones. However, the Canadian Cancer Society suggests that gallstones can sometimes lead to gallbladder cancer.