The genetics of childhood obesity and interaction with dietary macronutrients.
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The genes contributing to childhood obesity are categorized into three different types based on distinct genetic and phenotypic characteristics. These types of childhood obesity are represented by rare monogenic forms of syndromic or non-syndromic childhood obesity, and common polygenic childhood obesity. In some cases, genetic susceptibility to these forms of childhood obesity may result from different variations of the same gene. Although the prevalence for rare monogenic forms of childhood obesity has not increased in recent times, the prevalence of common childhood obesity has increased in the United States and developing countries throughout the world during the past few decades. A number of recent genome-wide association studies and mouse model studies have established the identification of susceptibility genes contributing to common childhood obesity. Accumulating evidence suggests that this type of childhood obesity represents a complex metabolic disease resulting from an interaction with environmental factors, including dietary macronutrients. The objective of this article is to provide a review on the origins, mechanisms, and health consequences of obesity susceptibility genes and interaction with dietary macronutrients that predispose to childhood obesity. It is proposed that increased knowledge of these obesity susceptibility genes and interaction with dietary macronutrients will provide valuable insight for individual, family, and community preventative lifestyle intervention, and eventually targeted nutritional and medicinal therapies.