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Obesity in children might be due to genetic variant resulting in less leptin production.


Children of African ancestry are at a higher risk of developing obesity if they possess a genetic variant that reduces their ability to produce the hormone, leptin, a recent study has found.


Leptin plays a stronger role in weight control amongst children than adults.

The study suggests that adults with the genetic variant do not have the same risk.

The findings are of an international study by scientists at the University of Copenhagen, University of Exeter, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and others, who investigated the role of genetics in controlling the leptin levels.

Associate Professor Tuomas Kilpelainen from Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen said, “Our findings suggest that young children might be particularly sensitive to the effect of leptin in controlling their body weight.”

It’s been long established that the hormone leptin is released by the body fat tissue and tells the brain how much fat is stored in the body. The more body fat a person has, the more leptin will be released in the body. This information is used by the brain to regulate a person’s appetite and food intake.