Childhood obesity 'may be largely genetic'
Becoming obese as a child is more likely to be a result of your genes than your lifestyle, researchers claim today.
In a study run by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, carried out by University College London( UCL), scientists examined more than 5,000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins.
They found that differences in body mass index and waist size were 77% governed by genes.
Professor Jane Wardle of UCL said: ‘It is wrong to place all the blame for a child’s excessive weight gain on the parents – it is more likely to be due to the child’s genetic susceptibility.’
But anti-obesity groups say that, regardless of genes, a balanced diet and exercise were vital to good health.
Children who are overweight are likely to be overweight or obese in adulthood, increasing the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, stroke and diabetes later in life.
However, despite the emergence of some possible genes that contribute to obesity, debate still rages about the extent to which we are pre-programmed to be overweight by our genetic make-up.