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Genetics may play only small role in childhood obesity

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Lifestyle factors may have more to do with a child's unhealthy cholesterol test scores and weight than his or her genes, according to a new study from University of Michigan researchers, which found that overweight children share many of the same habits.

Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the U.S. This is having major consequences on the heart health of the nation's youth. While some recent studies have shown that many of these adolescents have been genetically programmed to be overweight, the new findings suggest that the condition is far more controllable.

The researchers surveyed a group of more than 1,000 sixth-graders from Michigan. The questionnaire asked about the type of food they eat and how much time they spend on certain activities.

The results showed that overweight and obese children were more likely to eat unhealthy school lunches and spend two hours or more each day watching TV or playing videogames.

The researchers said that genetic factors may still play a role in extremely obese children. However, they suspect the majority of overweight children who have unhealthy cholesterol test scores simply need to improve lifestyle factors.

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