Recent study sets the research agenda on childhood obesity determinants

02 December 2021

Childhood obesity has become a global epidemic and is considered as a major metabolic liability in many countries. The rising concern of this phenomenon is due to its association in adult life with chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer.

A recent study, funded by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III and grant of support to research groups co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, investigated the determinants of childhood obesity. While, in general, obesity is considered to result from a positive chronic imbalance between energy intake and expenditure, involving genetic predisposition and lifestyle habits, this study suggests that today’s increase in childhood obesity cannot be explained only by the afore-mentioned determinants. Instead, obesity also implies gene-environment interactions, such as perinatal exposures (food intake, antibiotics prescriptions, pollutants or maternal gestational complications), dietary patterns, and physical activity environments compared to individual’s markers (microbiome, epi-genetic backgrounds and metabolomics signatures).

This study concludes that research has to delve into the metabolic determinants and consider  personalized, population, and planetary dimensions in order to address obesity since childhood and integrate personalized medicine and public health interventions.

SAFE welcomes this study and supports the need for further research on the subject. In the last years, SAFE has been calling for actions and working on childhood obesity, overconsumption of sugar and related targeting advertisements.