Common cold virus AD-36 may make kids fat

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Common cold is one of the most common diseases that you experience multiple times during your life span.  The common cold is accompanied by nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing. Could you have guessed common cold could be responsible for obesity in children?  Common cold can be cause by exposure to over 200 different types of viruses.  New research showed that exposure to a virus called adenovirus 36, can increase weight of children by an average of 50 pounds.  This is the first study that has found correlation between common cold virus and childhood obesity

About the study
The study wad led by Dr. Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, director of the weight and wellness program at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. The study included:

  • 124 children between the ages of 8 and 18
  • Sixty-two percent of the children were Hispanic, 27 percent were white and 11 percent were black.
  • Fifty-six percent were male.
  • 67 children (> 50%) were considered obese based on their body-mass measurements for their age and gender.
  • The blood samples of the participants was collected and analyzed for antibodies specific to adenovirus 36 (AD-36). Schwimmer said this particular strain of adenovirus was first identified in the 1980s.

Antibodies in the blood are produced by the body’s immune system to combat infection and can be specifically identified. 

Results of study
The study showed that

  • 15% of the children had antibodies to AD36, which means that at some point, they had been infected with this virus.
  • 22 percent obese children tested positive for AD36 compared to just 7 percent of the non-obese children.
  • On an average, children who were positive for a previous adenovirus 36 infection were about 50 pounds heavier than those who tested negative.
  • Specifically for obese children within the studied group, those who were AD36-positive weighed about 35 pounds more than obese children who hadn’t been infected with AD36.

Results of the study appear in the Sept. 20 online issue of Pediatrics.

 

Should I give up exercise and healthy diet if I test positive for AD36?
Definitely not! The study suggested that AD36 was one of the factors for obesity, which does not rule out other risk factors.  As Dr. Schwimmer said “Regardless of the extent to which this impacts body weight, there’s no question that eating healthfully and having regular,...



fun physical activity is good for you. The reason we care about these behaviors is improving health.”

What positive impact does this finding has?
There are many positive outcomes of the study apart from knowing that infection to AD36 can cause childhood obesity.  Some of them include:

Perception about obesity:  This study could change the perception about obesity and obese kids as indicated by Dr Schwimmer “move away from assigning blame, and broaden the way we think about obesity. Currently, there’s a somewhat simplistic belief that obesity is just a person’s own fault, or in the case of children, the fault of the family. But, that’s an overly simplistic view, and it’s not helpful,” he said.

Better care of people exposed to AD36: The children who are already exposed to AD36 are at higher risk of obesity and physicians and parents can keep a watch in weight and lifestyle of the child to minimize the weight gain.  As quoted by Dr. Schwimmer “That knowledge might lead to more aggressive measures earlier on if we see someone isn’t losing weight as well,”

Development of vaccines for AD36:  The study triggers development of vaccine against AD36 virus.

The research provides an interesting link between child obesity and common cold virus, AD36.  That should not mean that you will be obese no matter what if you are exposed to AD36 and stop eating healthy diet or exercising.  Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key for healthy living.

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Source: Businessweek

 

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