Childhood Obesity Blamed On Genes, Junk Food

A new twist in the research on childhood obesity: it's not just lifestyle and diet that cause obesity in children, says a new study from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

After styding nearly 5,000 children at or above the 95th percentile for weight and height, researchers found two new genetic variants linked to childhood obesity that hadn't been previously linked to the disease. Several of the genetic variants found in the study's subjects were found in similar studies on adults, and the new genetic variants will give way to more understanding in obesity research. Plus, researchers said the benefit of studying children means they have had less time to develop "obscure genetic links."

However, don't go reaching for the sugary soda and junk food just yet — researchers say that it's clear lifestyle plays some part in childhood obesity. Although genetics haven't changed for decades, childhood obesity rates have jumped dramatically in the last decade (now at about 17 percent for children 2 to 19 years old), proving some kind of link back to diet. And it certianly doesn't affect the normal approach to treating childhood obesity. Said a clinician to MedPage Today, "We may know more about childhood obesity, but until there's a magic bullet, the treatment will be the same.. Kids still need to have better diets and they really need to be more active."