Genetic Studies Reveal New Causes of Severe Obesity In Childhood

Filed under: In The News


DNA

DNA may be the answer to some cases of childhood obesity. Credit: ynse, Flickr


In battling the problem of childhood obesity, researchers and parents have looked to increased exercise and changes in diet for solutions. But researchers in the UK have found that in some cases, childhood obesity may be genetic.

Their study of the DNA of 300 obese children -- published online this week in the journal Nature -- turned up several examples of genetic variations, including one that keeps children from experiencing the normal sensation of being full after a meal.

Because of this absence of pieces of chromosome, these children are perpetually hungry, leading to their extreme weight problems.

These genetic variations appear to be quite rare, and don't explain the majority of obesity cases. But they do represent a crucial step in the quest to find solutions for all types of obesity. This information can also help parents whose children struggle with extreme obesity -- the kind that can get lead authorities to assume their parents aren't taking care of them.

Related: Fighting Childhood Obesity, Big Babies - Are They an Obesity Risk?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.