Childhood obesity epidemic may be linked to gut bacteria

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In a new study, published online in the journal Obesity Reviews, a group of researchers found that bacteria living in our gut may be linked to the ever-growing childhood obesity epidemic.

The findings were obtained by examining previous studies on the interaction between gut microbiome and immune cells and how it can be transfered biologically subsequently resulting in childhood obesity.

According to Halle Kincaid, the study’s lead author: “Obesity in children is also on rise, indicating the urgent need of strategies for prevention and intervention that must begin in early life.”

“While originally posited that obesity results from the simple concept of consuming more calories, or genetics, emerging research suggests that the bacteria living in our gut (gut microbiome) and its interactions with immune cells and metabolic organs including adipose tissues (microbiome‐immune‐metabolic axis) play significant role in obesity development in childhood,” Kincaid detailed in the findings.

“Specifically, abnormal changes (dysbiosis) in the gut microbiome, stimulation of inflammatory cytokines, and shifts in the metabolic functions of brown adipose tissue and the browning of white adipose tissue are associated with increased obesity.”

Kincaid concluded with the following: “Herein, using evidence from animal and human studies, we discuss how these factors impact microbiome‐immune‐metabolic axis and cause obesity epidemic in children, and describe the gaps in knowledge that are warranted for future research.”