Childhood Obesity and Your Genes

Obesity affects nearly one in four 7-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and European teenagers and young adults are more likely to grow up with obesity than the general population. Genetic factors and environmental factors — such as eating a lot of sugar, moderate grazing and/or high-fructose corn-fed diets — are usually the most included in current diets, and they have been the focus of cultural norms like sweet tooth acceptance, for kosher and lacto-fermented foods.

What are your genes? Jan Oreldenbroek, ScD, of the Danish Children’s Hospital in Copenhagen, uses genome sequencing and gene discovery technology to reveal how dietary factors and environmental factors interact within a single gene to increase the risk of abdominal obesity, abdominal obesity and type 2 diabetes.”We are currently focused on applying the gene discovery approach to understand and identify genes that are associated directly with childhood obesity and obesity-related metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, abdominal obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity,” he explains.

Why does your genome play a greater role in obesity? Obese individuals have higher incidence of obesity, and genetic predisposition strongly predicts obesity. Genetics and diet are highly interactoriotic, meaning they are strongly influenced by environment and genetics. To better understand the mechanisms of this interaction, scientists David A. Lentini, PhD, and C. Kate Duncan, PhD, of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Tandtøy Hordal, PhD, of the University of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia, conducted a genome-wide meta-analysis of 15 genome-wide association studies on obesity, type 2 diabetes and abdominal obesity, and insulin resistance.

Graphical updates on the latest research on diet and obesity are available via the close-to-home research hub.