Scientists have detected two genes for the first time that seem to predispose children to become obese.
Scientists from the Center for Applied Genomics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute have discovered that two genes that seem to predispose children to become obese. They have also found that this gene is linked with the adult obesity.
"This is the largest-ever genome-wide study of common childhood obesity, in contrast to previous studies that have focused on more extreme forms of obesity primarily connected with rare disease syndromes," Science Daily quoted Struan Grant, Ph D., associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as saying. "As a consequence, we have definitively identified and characterized a genetic predisposition to common childhood obesity."
Scientists had conducted a study on more than 13,000 children in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. Among the 13,000, 5,530 children were obese where as other 8,300 were non-obese children.
Scientists found two genes, one near the OLFM4 gene on chromosome 13 and the other HOXB5 gene on chromosome 17 in obese children. This clearly shows that these genes play a major role in increasing obesity among children.
Research indicates that obese adolescents tend to have higher risk of mortality as adults. Although environmental factors, such as food choices and sedentary habits, contribute to the increasing rates of obesity in childhood, twin studies and other family-based evidence have suggested a genetic component to the disease as well, according to the Science Daily.
Obesity is one of the major health issues across the world. It can lead to lot of health problems - heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and several types of cancer as well as reduce life expectancy. Obesity is usually caused by a combination of excessive food intake and lack of physical activity, but now researchers have found that genes could also play a major role in increasing obesity.
"This work opens up new avenues to explore the genetics of common childhood obesity," said Grant. "Much work remains to be done, but these findings may ultimately be useful in helping to design future preventive interventions and treatments for children, based on their individual genomes," he said.