This Article is About
childhood obesity
health risk factors
gene variants
genetic predisposition
obesity in children
different sectors
healthy lifestyles
low self esteem
high blood pressure
type 2 diabetes
psychological problems
chromosomes
Genetics And The Increased Susceptibility Of Childhood Obesity
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Considering that childhood obesity is has been rapidly increasing over the past 30 years, it has become a focus in different sectors of biomedical research, as well as genetics. There are many health risk factors that have been found to be associated with childhood obesity such as cardiovascular disease, prediabetes, bone and joint problems. Social and psychological problems also become a consequence of obesity in children, leading to low self esteem and in some cases stigmatization. The problem lies in the concern that if these children have developed obesity at such a young age, they are at high risk of being predisposed to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, as well as osteoarthritis as adults.

It is highly emphasized that childhood obesity may be prevented by living healthy lifestyles, which include eating healthy and having constant physical activity. But what If you were told that the cause of your child's extensive weight gain was not due solely to environmental factors; such as diet and exercise? In a genome wide association meta-analysis recently published, it has been found that there are two gene variants which predispose children to extensive weight gain.

It may be concluded that some children even if they lived in optimal conditions are predisposed to obesity due to what is encoded in their genetic make up. The gene variants that have been discovered to underlie childhood obesity are the OLFM4 gene and the Homeobox B5 gene (HOXB5). The OLFM4 gene is found in chromosome 13 while the HOXb5 gene is present on chromosomes 17. Although the presence of these gene variants does not imply that the child will be obese, it may increase their risk. Although there is now a genetic predisposition, environmental conditions are still considered to be major contributors to either preventing or promoting childhood obesity.

You may find yourself wondering what the function of these gene variants are in our bodies due to expression its expression in our chromosomes. The HOXB5 gene is known to be a protein that acts as a sequence-specific transcription factors which is involved in the development of the lungs and gut. The OLFM4 gene is an encoded protein which acts as an antiapoptotic factor. It is responsible for the promotion of tumor growth and the cell division of pancreatic cancer cells.

Findings of such gene variants may allow for the future development of preventative methods and treatments designed according to children's genome.


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