Washington: Two gene variants that increase the risk of common childhood obesity have been identified by researchers.

Although factors such as food choices and sedentary habits contribute to the increasing rates of obesity in childhood, studies have suggested a genetic component to the disease as well. Obese adolescents tend to have higher risk of mortality as adults. Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia studied DNA from children with common obesity and analyzed previous studies on the subject, as reported.

They identified two gene variants, one on chromosome 13 and the other on chromosome 17. None of them were previously implicated in obesity.

The study was published on the online edition of Nature Genetics.

Previous studies have identified gene variants contributing to obesity in adults and in children with extreme obesity, but relatively little are known about genes implicated in regular childhood obesity.

(Agencies)