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Obesity 'linked to genetic defect in kids'

If you think obesity is caused by overeating, think again, for scientists have claimed that it's actually linked to genetic defect in kids. The findings have been published in the latest edition of the 'Nature' journal.

health and fitness Updated: Dec 07, 2009 18:25 IST

A team at Cambridge University, led by Sadaf Farooqi, has carried out a research and found that obesity in kids is caused not by overeating or overfeeding, but due to a fault in their chromosomes.

"We have found that part of chromosome 16 can be deleted in some families, and people with this deletion have severe obesity from a young age," Sadaf Farooqi, who runs the university's metabolic research laboratories, was quoted by 'The Sunday Times' as saying.

The results have emerged from comparing the genomes of 300 obese children with those of 7,000 healthy volunteers.

This showed many of the obese youngsters were missing the section of chromosome 16 that contains a gene known as SH2B1, which plays a key role in regulating weight. "They were left with a strong drive to eat and gained weight easily," said Farooqi.

Some of the 300 obese youngsters in the study were already on "at risk" registers as it was assumed their parents were overfeeding them. They have now been removed from the register, Farooqi said.

The findings have been published in the latest edition of the 'Nature' journal.