Dr. Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, associate professor of clinical pediatrics at UC San Diego, and colleagues examined 124 children, ages 8 to 18, for the presence of antibodies specific to adenovirus 36 (AD36).
AD36 is the only human adenovirus currently linked to human obesity.
Children who were AD36-positive weighed almost 50 pounds more, on average, than children who were AD36-negative.
Within the group of obese children, those with evidence of AD36 infection weighed an average of 35 pounds more than obese children who were AD36-negative.
Schwimmer said he hopes this research will help shift some of the burden that falls so heavily upon obese people, in particular children.