Children with a genetic trait linked to obesity may be more likely than other kids to respond to fast-food commercials on TV, a new study suggests.
The research, based on brain scans, isn’t definitive. Still, it adds to evidence that excess weight isn’t purely a matter of willpower, said Ruth Loos, an obesity researcher [at the Charles R. Bronfman Institute of Personalized Medicine].
The researchers monitored the brains of 78 children, aged 9 to 12, as they watched a TV show with commercials — including half for fast food — while in an MRI scanner. The investigators looked for links between the kids’ reactions to the commercials in the “reward center” of the brain…and their genetic makeup.
“This brain reward region responded about 2.5 times more strongly to food commercials — compared to non-food commercials — in children who had at least one copy of the obesity risk allele compared to children without the risk allele,” said Kristina Rapuano, the study’s lead author and a graduate student…at Dartmouth College.
“We think our study provides some evidence to suggest this genetic trait may predispose some children to have food cravings in response to food cues like the sight or smell of food,” she added.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Some Kids’ Genes Might Make Food Ads More Tempting