According to the World health organization, Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. The problem is global and is steadily affecting many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. The prevalence has increased at an alarming rate. Globally, in 2016 the number of overweight children under the age of five, is estimated to be over 41 million.
Today, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity in children more than tripled from 1971 to 2011. With good reason, childhood obesity is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking.
Obesity is children is causing a variety of health issues that were previously only seen in adults. Elevated blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and increased cholesterol level to name only a few of the conditions. Obese and overweight children are also more prone to psychological issues including low self-esteem, depression and negative body image.
When you consider your genome, you wonder if there are common genetic variants or more frequent genetic variations in this population of obese kids which may influence weight gain.
There are a few genes known to increase your predisposition to weight gain. Here are below the main one you may want to assess. You also want to look at other genes mutations playing an important role in increasing risks to develop now or later in life cardio-vascular and chronic diseases.
First let’s have a look at the TOP 8 genes contributing to weight gain and increased diseases risks in overweight children.
TOP 5 OBESITY AND WEIGHT GAIN GENES.
- FTO This gene encodes fat mass and obesity-associated protein. It is highly produced in the brain and influence our metabolism and play an important role in satiety signaling. Which a poor signal we tend to consume more food, more calories and gain weight.
- MC4R encodes for melanocortin 4 receptor, which aids your brain regulation of satiety, metabolism, and energy homeostasis. In other words. Genetic variants of this gene may reduce your feeling of satiety when eating, slow down your metabolism and energy expenditure. This can contribute to overeating.
- ADIPOQ Adiponectin is a metabolic hormone released by adipose tissue. Genetic variants of this gene are associated with lower adiponectin level. Low adiponectin level is correlated to poorer cardio-vascular health. Diet and exercise are a good way to increase adiponectin production.
- FADS, also known as deta-5-desaturase, converts fatty acid precursors to active omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). EPA and DHA are beneficial for brain development, and help reducing inflammation. Good Omega 3 sources are nuts, seeds, algae and fish (deep seas, cold water fish).
- APOA2 (Apolipoprotein A-II) one of the major clinical implications of this particular SNP is related to body weight. The homozygous (+/+) variant is associated with increased food intake and weight gain, particularly when saturated fat intake is high.
OTHER TOP 3 GENES TO CONSIDER to PREVENT LONG TERM HEALTH RISKS
- MTHFR C677T Encodes the MTHFR enzyme, which converts natural folate from green leafy vegetables to 5-MTHF, the active form of folate. Genetic variants of this genes decrease your ability to lower homocysteine leading to increased predisposition to cardio-vascular diseases, stroke.
- MTHFR A1298C Encodes for the second most important enzyme also converting natural folate into it s activated form. From research it is known to increase predispositions to autoimmune diseases and chronic diseases such as diabetes.
- APOE gene (the “Alzheimer’s gene”) and more specifically the APOE4 allele increase your predisposition for early cognitive decline. This is important as we know that dysregulation of blood sugar metabolism and diabetes significantly potentiate the risk for early cognitive decline.
There are now inexpensive genetic test or testing combinations allowing us to assess your potential for genetic variations.
Ask your doctor about how to test for these genetic mutations. Dr Jean-Marc Sobczyk, MD ND is a licensed naturopathic doctor in California with extensive training in nutrition and expertise in Nutrigenomics and Genetic Testing. He will guide you and help you implementing the necessary changes to optimize and dramatically change the potential of your children. He treats children and adults at the Akasha Center for Integrative medicine. Schedule a 10 minutes complimentary visit with him today.