Strain of common cold linked to childhood obesity
So maybe this is why you’re fat.
A study published in the September 20th online edition of the medical journal Pediatrics indicates that children who had been infected with adenovirus 36, a strain of the common cold that causes standard cold symptoms as well as gastrointestinal ones, weighed an average of 50 pounds more than children who had not been infected with the same virus.
The study examined 124 children between the ages of eight and 18, 67 of whom were considered obese according to their BMI, gender and age. 22% of the children classified as obese tested positive for antibodies for AD36, compared with 7% of the kids who were not considered obese.
Study senior author Dr. Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, who is in charge of weight and wellness at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, says that a vaccine based on the results of the study is a possibility, albeit distant. Dr. Schwimmer hopes, however, that the results could eventually impact how people view and treat obesity-related issues:
What Schwimmer does hope the findings will do is get people to “move away from assigning blame, and broaden the way we think about obesity. Currently, there’s a somewhat simplistic belief that obesity is just a person’s own fault, or in the case of children, the fault of the family. But, that’s an overly simplistic view, and it’s not helpful,” he said.
A doctor occupying a similar post in a Pittsburgh children’s hospital viewed the findings in a slightly different light:
For his part, Dr. Goutham Rao, clinical director of the Weight Management and Wellness Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, said the findings bring up the “age-old chicken or egg problem — Does this virus disrupt certain pathways and cause obesity? Or, do obese kids tend to have this virus more often?”
Dr. Rao suggested that most childhood obesity could be curbed by limiting video game and computer time and eating family meals together.