Genetic Link to Childhood Obesity

Nature or Nurture?

According to a new study, children born with a genetic mutation known as a copy number variation (CNV), are genetically susceptible to developing childhood obesity.

Previous research with adult test subjects revealed that CNVs are associated with many inherited human diseases, including extreme obesity.

With this study, researchers “wanted to complement these earlier studies and address CNVs in common childhood obesity by examining children in the upper 5th percentile of BMI but excluding subjects with the most severe obesity since they often have other serious medical conditions that can be confounding,” says co-author Dr. Hakon Hakonarson.

Their Findings

The researchers identified multiple deletion and duplication CNVs that are likely to contribute to genetic susceptibility of common childhood obesity in subjects of European and African ancestry.

What This Means To You

At this point, it doesn’t mean a whole lot.

According to study author Dr. Struan Grant, “Further functional studies will be needed to fully characterize the function of the genes at these loci in relation to childhood obesity.

In other words, a lot more research needs to be done to:

  1. Prove a genetic cause of childhood obesity, and
  2. Develop a treatment


Douglas Robb

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, and a student of nutrition and exercise science. He's also the co-founder of the Hive Health Media. Since 2008, Doug has expanded his impact by bringing his real-world experience online via the health & fitness blog – Health Habits.

3 thoughts on “Genetic Link to Childhood Obesity

  • October 17, 2010 at 1:06 am

    I totally agree Jarret. People are looking to opt out of responsibility for their own health & well-being and here comes more research that could potentially do just that!
    Patricia Perth Australia

  • October 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    The downside to this emerging research itself that you’ve written about Doug regarding genetics or your previous article on the cold virus is that it potentially gives people who’re just inactive and eat poor diets and excuse for a condition that’s multifactorial.

  • October 16, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Will be interesting to see where this research goes. I’m not convinced at the moment as I know people who are obese and that’s cos they all eat the same junk food and some members are not cos they choose to eat healthy!
    Patricia Perth Australia


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