Researchers have identified two genetic variations that appear to increase the risk of childhood obesity.
The study authors took data from North American, Australian and European meta-analysis of 14 studies consisting of 5,530 obese children and 8,318 non-obese kids.
The team compared the genetic data.
"When we surveyed all the genetic variation across the obese children and non-obese children, some variants were highly, statistically, overrepresented in the obese cases. We saw a genetic signature for the disease," said lead investigator Struan Grant, associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The team identified two new childhood obesity related genes, one near the OLFM4 gene on chromosome 13, the other within the HOXB5 gene on chromosome 17.
Their results are published Sunday in Nature Genetics.
While nutrition, physical activity and environment are factors in childhood obesity, this study implies a genetic relationship.