The Checkup: CHOP Scientists Locate Childhood Obesity Genes

Two genes predispose children to becoming obese.

• Scientists at our own Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia say they’ve pinpointed a pair of genes that predisposes kids to obesity. The presence of the genes confers only a modest risk for becoming obese, HealthDay reports, but the genes themselves are apparently pretty common in the population. Researchers pooled data from 14 studies which involved a total of 5,530 children who were obese and 8,318 non-obese kids. Two genes clearly stuck out; those genes also showed up—albeit, weakened—in adults. So the thought is that the genes are stronger during early development and taper off some with age. It remains to be seen what role these genes actually play, but if scientists can puzzle it out, new kinds of treatments could be developed as a result.

• Speaking of CHOP, it’s also mentioned in this NPR piece about hospitals looking for ways to boot fast food from their cafeterias. You might remember that CHOP successfully ousted McDonald’s last fall. Other hospitals haven’t been so lucky.

• A possible new autism link: mom’s expanding waistline?