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A strain of a virus that causes colds may also contribute to obesity in children, a new study says.

The latest research shows that obese children and teens who have had “adenovirus 36” are more likely to be obese than kids who haven’t been infected.

This adds to other evidence in humans and animals of a possible link between virus and obesity.

Researchers at the University of California-San Diego studied 124 children ages 8 to 18. About half were obese. The scientists determined which kids had been infected based upon the presence of antibodies for the virus.

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Findings in today’s Pediatrics:

•15 of the 19 children who had been infected were obese.

•Obese children who have had the virus weighed about 35 pounds more than obese children without the virus.

“This supports the theory that this virus could be causing weight gain,” says pediatrician Jeffrey Schwimmer, the paper’s senior author and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of California-San Diego.

“But body weight regulation is complicated, and even if this proves to be one factor, it’s still a factor, not the factor,” he says.


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