Researchers have identified a common gene variant that increases the risk of obesity in children.
In a study published in Obesity journal, the researchers from University of Columbia found that a specific variant (single nucleotide polymorphism) of a gene called "FTO" affects eating behaviour that may be predictive of subsequent weight gain in children, who are at obesity risk.
"Early identification of the physiology and behaviours that constitute early risk factors for subsequent weight gain will help inform best practices for intervention and prevention of obesity in children," said study author Michael Rosenbaum, a professor at Columbia University.
"This study shows that even before the development of an obese phenotype, children at risk, in this case by virtue of a common genetic variant, exhibit increased food intake," added Rosenbaum.
For the study, the researchers included 122 children in the 5-10 year age group.