Nothing To Sneeze At: Cold Virus May Be Making Kids Fat - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Nothing To Sneeze At: Cold Virus May Be Making Kids Fat

MSNBC.COM - A common virus may be one of the causes of the troubling obesity epidemic in American children, a new study shows.

University of California, San Diego researchers found that obese children were far more likely to have antibodies to a specific strain of adenovirus than normal weight children, according to the report published early online in Pediatrics. Children who showed signs of infection with adenovirus 36 (AD36), a common cause of some colds and eye infections, were an average of 50 pounds heavier than those who had no antibodies to the virus.

"This shows that body weight regulation and the development of obesity are very complicated issues," said the study's senior author, Dr. Jeffrey Schwimmer, an associate professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego and director of Weight and Wellness at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. "It's not simply a case that some children eat too much and others don't. There are children who eat all the wrong things in all the wrong quantities who are not obese.

Outside experts cautioned that the new research doesn't prove that the virus causes weight gain — it's entirely possible that obese kids are just more likely to get the virus.

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