Scientists have confirmed what some parents have long suspected; childhood obesity can be influenced by genetics and may not always be the result of eating an unhealthy diet or not doing enough exercise.
Researchers studied 1,000 children with severe obesity in an attempt to explain the rise in the number of overweight UK children and whether genes placed a child at risk of obesity.
They discovered that genetic mutations and variations could be responsible for influencing children’s appetites and may also affect the way their bodies metabolise food.
Researcher Professor Sadaf Farooqi said: “Some children will be obese because they have severe mutations, but our research indicates that some may have a combination of severe mutations and milder-acting variants that in combination contribute to their obesity.”
The discovery of a connection between genetics and obesity sheds light on why certain children become over weight while others do not despite being raised in a similar manner.
Childhood obesity is likely to continue into adulthood and can have serious long-term health consequences. The number of obese UK children aged between two and 10 has increased from 10.01 per cent in 1995 to 12.9 per cent in 2011.
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