Obesity Caught Like Common Cold – Yahoo! News

By | January 26, 2009

Yet another claim that a common and contagious virus is linked to some cases of obesity is in the news today.

Studies on humans show that 33 per cent of obese adults had contracted an adenovirus called AD-36 at some point in their lives, according to an article in the UK’s Daily Express, whereas only 11 per cent of lean men and women have had the virus.

The research, to be presented in a BBC television special, is not big news to scientists, however. Further, some worry that the portrayal of obesity as something you simply catch could obscure the fact that overeating remains the biggest driver of obesity.

The facts

The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about one-third of U.S. adults are obese, as are 16 percent of children and adolescents age 2 to 19.

Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and other illnesses.

It is increasingly clear, several experts say, that viruses might play a role in some obesity cases. There are 49 known human adenoviruses. They cause everything from the common cold to gastrointestinal problems and eye inflammation, pneumonia, croup, and bronchitis.

AD-36 was first fingered as being possibly linked to obesity more than a decade ago. Nikhil Dhurandhar, of Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana, and a colleague made the connection in 1997 in research presented at an annual Experimental Biology meeting. That preliminary study of 199 people found that up to 15 percent of them carried antibodies to the virus, which provided indirect evidence that they once were exposed to the virus itself.

via Obesity Caught Like Common Cold – Yahoo! News.

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