Obesity in childhood is known to have a lasting impact on an individual’s physical and physiological health. If a child is overweight, there is a 70% chance that they will remain overweight in adulthood.
People who have suffered from childhood obesity are also more likely to suffer from related lifestyle diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Worse, they are at risk of getting these diseases earlier than others.
Because childhood obesity has such a severe impact, it is important to understand and watch out for early warning signs, allowing for early intervention and disease prevention.
Could genetic testing be the answer?
Childhood obesity is a fairly new health issue, and it is believed to have been caused by modern conveniences, urban settlements, and dietary patterns. The biggest factors behind childhood obesity are lack of physical activity, a diet rich in foods high in sugar, the availability of snack foods, as well as other emotional and psychological factors.
Aside from these factors, genetics also plays an important role in understanding the nature of childhood obesity. Experts believe our genetic blueprint dictates our likelihood of having a high BMI (body mass index) or being obese, and by looking at specific genes, they can design interventions that can prevent obesity.
The first step begins by identifying the genetic variants strongly associated with childhood obesity. Early genetic testing will, then, be an essential tool to screen individuals that may be predisposed to become obese.
The next step is to work together with a doctor or physician who can design a diet and lifestyle that helps prevent the individual from having a high BMI.
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