Some May 'catch' Obesity Via a Virus

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 20 (UPI) — Many believe obesity is a person’s own fault or the fault of one’s parents but U.S. researchers say obesity may be linked to a virus.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found children exposed to a particular strain of adenovirus — which most commonly cause respiratory illness, but may include gastroenteritis, pink eye, bladder infection and rash — are significantly more likely to be obese.

Dr. Jeffrey Schwimmer and colleagues examined children for the presence of antibodies specific to adenovirus 36 — one of more than 50 strains of adenovirus known to infect humans.

The study, published online in the journal Pediatrics, finds children who were AD36-positive weighed almost 50 pounds more, on average, than children who were AD36-negative.

“Obesity can be a marker for future health problems like heart disease, liver disease and diabetes,” Schwimmer says in a statement. “An extra 35 to 50 pounds is more than enough to greatly increase those risks.”

Schwimmer and colleagues examined 124 children — slightly more than half of the children were considered obese — ages 8-18, for the presence of antibodies specific to adenovirus 36.

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