As obesity is a health condition that impacts the U.S. nationwide regardless of age category, when it comes to children, the issue is ever more urgent. Programs, treatments and research have engulfed billions of dollars and so far there’s not a bullet proof treatment against obesity. As the cases of childhood obesity have skyrocketed over the past few years, scientists started to look at genes as a risk factor. A research finds two genes at blame for childhood obesity.
Despite attempts to educate the public about their food choices, warnings against fatty and salty food products, regulations that require fast food chains to label the calories in their burgers and fries and so on, obesity remains a very costly matter in the United States. Treatments aren’t exactly bullet proof or easy to commit too and access to healthy, fresh food and exercise isn’t exactly straightforward.
One of the largest analyses of several genetic studies has brought hope that obesity treatments will become even more consistent and successful. Scientists looked at DNA samples from thousands of children and found two genes that might be at blame for childhood obesity. 14 studies, 5,530 childhood obesity cases, 8,300 control subjects have been integrated in the present analysis.
Lead investigator Struan F.A. Grant, associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, called the analysis to be “the largest ever genome wide study of common childhood obesity”. “As a consequence, we have definitely identified and characterized a genetic predisposition to common childhood obesity” added Grant.
Craig Pennell, an associate professor at The University of Western Australia, was also involved in the study. He said that their findings open up “new avenues to explore the genetics of childhood obesity” and “may ultimately be useful in helping to design preventive interventions and treatments for children, based on their individual genomes”.
Now, don’t imagine all childhood obesity cases are linked with the newly identified genes. As Stuart Grant emphasizes: “childhood obesity is partly in your genes. It’s partly your lifestyle”. Karen Winer, a program director with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development” agrees: “Obesity is the result of a complex interplay among biological, behavioral, cultural, environmental and economic factors”.