Can viruses contribute to obesity? Researchers from the University of California at San Diego have uncovered a link between viral infection in kids and obesity. After examining 124 children, it was discovered that 19 of them had been exposed to adenovirus 36 (AD36). Of the nineteen AD36-positive children, fifteen were obese. According to the study, AD36-positive children weighed almost 50 pounds more on average than children who were AD36-negative and 35 pounds more on average than obese children who were AD36-negative.
Researcher Jeffrey B. Schwimmer states, "Many people believe that obesity is one's own fault or the fault of one's parents or family. This work helps point out that body weight is more complicated than it's made out to be. And it is time that we move away from assigning blame in favor of developing a level of understanding that will better support efforts at both prevention and treatment. These data add credence to the concept that an infection can be a cause or contributor to obesity." AD36 is believed to contribute to obesity by coaxing immature fat cells to develop more quickly and in greater abundance than normal.