Genetic Causes in Childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is often the result of interplay between many genetic and environmental factors. Polymorphisms in various genes controlling appetite and metabolism predispose individuals to obesity when sufficient calories are present. As such obesity is a major feature of a number of rare genetic conditions that often present in childhood.


    * Prader-Willi syndrome with an incidence between 1 in 12,000 and 1 in 15,000 live births is characterized by hyperphagia and food preoccupations which leads to rapid weight gain in those affected.


    * Bardet-Biedl syndrome


    * MOMO syndrome


    * Leptin receptor mutations


    * Congenital leptin deficiency


    * Melanocortin receptor mutations.


In a children with early-onset severe obesity (defined by an onset before ten years of age and body mass index over three standard deviations above normal), 7% harbor a single locus mutation. One study found that 80% of the offspring of two obese parents were obese in contrast to less than 10% of the offspring of two parents who were of normal weight. The percentage of obesity that can be attributed to genetics varies from 6% to 85% depending on the population examined.