Childhood obesity is in the genes: research

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London, Feb 7 (UNI) The problem of obesity among children is genetic, a study reveals.

According to researchers, fatness in children has more to do with the genes rather than their upbringing and over-eating habit.

Instead of blaming parents of overweight children, we should accept that factors which determine body size are largely outside their control, researchers say.

''Contrary to the widespread assumption that family environment is the key factor in determining weight gain, we found this was not the case. The study shows it is wrong to place all the blame for a child's excessive weight gain on parents; it is more likely to be due to the child's genetic susceptibility,'' researcher Jane Wardle from Cancer Research UK's Health Behaviour Research Centre said.

Although over-eating and a sedentary lifestyle are responsible for weight gain, the researchers said their research showed genetics was more important.

The study of more than 5,000 pairs of twins aged eight to 11 showed that genetics explained more than three quarters of the variation in weight among the youngsters.

In contrast, their home life accounted for just 23 per cent. Researchers looked at identical pairs of twins, who share all their genes, and compared their measurements with non-identical pairs of twins, who only share half their genes.

Professor Wardle, however said it is not inevitable that children with ''obesity genes'' become overweight.

''In today's environment, which provides unprecedented opportunities for all children to over-eat and be sedentary, it is not surprising these tendencies result in weight gain,'' the Daily Mail quoted the researcher as saying.

''It is therefore important to provide the best possible environment for all children to help protect those who are at higher genetic risk.'' The findings are reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


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