Genetic factors influencing adult obesity take effect in early childhood

Body mass index (BMI) in infants, children and adults is influenced by different genetic factors that change as we age, according to a major new study.

An international consortium of researchers, led by scientists at Imperial College London, the University of Surrey, and the University of Oulu, Finland, discovered that BMI in babies is influenced by a distinct set of genetic variants that play little role in determining weight in later life.

They found, however, that some genetic variants associated with adult BMI start playing a role during childhood from around the age of 4-7 years old – suggesting that the origins of obesity in adults may lie in this critical stage of childhood.

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Last updated: 9.9.2019