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Cold Virus Linked to Childhood Obesity

Posted on Sep 20, 2010
Centers for Disease Control / Dr. G. William Gary Jr.

It could be that obese kids are just likelier to catch colds, but research suggests that adenovirus 36 may actually be rewriting fat cells in children, causing them to gain more weight.

Certainly diet and exercise are crucial factors, but researchers say their findings indicate that childhood obesity is a more complex condition than previously thought. 

(Just to be clear, adenovirus is not the cause of what we call the common cold, but a common cause of colds.)—PZS


“This shows that body weight regulation and the development of obesity are very complicated issues,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Jeffrey Schwimmer, an associate professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego and director of Weight and Wellness at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. “It’s not simply a case that some children eat too much and others don’t. There are children who eat all the wrong things in all the wrong quantities who are not obese.”

Outside experts cautioned that the new research doesn’t prove that the virus causes weight gain — it’s entirely possible that obese kids are just more likely to get the virus.

Still, earlier research with cells in petri dishes suggests that the virus may cause changes in the body that lead to weight gain. Some studies have shown that the virus can enter fat cell precursors, rewiring them to spew out more fat cells, while others have shown that the virus can modify fat cells themselves so that they store more fat.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, September 21, 2010 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

Because it’s a blatantly visible indicator of lack of personal responsibility, being fat is unhealthy and therefore irresponsible, and most people think that people should take personal responsibility for themselves.

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By NYCartist, September 21, 2010 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

I wonder why fat people are so dissed in our society?

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, September 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

Excellent! Another excuse to be fat.

Step away from the pastry tray!!!


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By robertaustin, September 20, 2010 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

I’ve been to many places outside the United States. Kids everywhere catch cold, but no country I’ve been to has nearly as many obese children as the US. A great way to abdicate responsibility (social as well as personal) for something is to call it a disease.

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By Dave S, September 20, 2010 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a father of 3 boys I also discovered a new cold virus called ” XBox360ovirus”.  It seemed to be a close cousin of the virus my parents referred to as “lazybutticusovirus”  It must have mutated!!!  It was very contagious for all 3 of my boys.  I believe they contracted it from school one year or maybe around Christmas time.  It did cause weight gain, lethargic like behavior, staying up late at night and a distinct increase in the intake of sugary drinks and fat laden starchy products.  I was baffled at first by the increasingly chubby midsections on these once lean kids.  But, alas, I did find a homeopathic, totally natural cure to this dreaded virus!!  I immediately curbed the XBox play time, threw the kids outside and dropped them off at parks and told them to “play” in the grass (oh and they walked home also, that seemed to help cure them of this awful thing”.  I have been contacted by many universities and asked to bring my kids so they may study this phenomena…..but I told them apply this “cure” to any “fat lazy kid” and the same results appear.  They are currently sending in my name to the Nobel prize peoples for that Nobel science thingy.  I’m so glad I could contribute my amazing insight and knowledge to help cure this worldwide epidemic.  Thank you all, I am humbled.

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