Childhood obesity has been getting considerable attention as it ushers in a new epidemic of gigantic proportions – type 2 diabetes. Sadly, more often than not, childhood obesity is something that is preventable but isn’t because of the unhealthy lifestyles passed on by the parents to the kids.
While the lifestyle choices that lead to childhood obesity is a topic worth discussing again and again, an oft overlooked reason for childhood obesity that most people do not realize exists is also worth putting to light – Prader Willi Syndrome or PWS.
PWS is a genetic disorder wherein a deletion in the chromosome 15 of a person results in endless problems starting with low muscle tone and failure to thrive as a baby. As the child grows, the second stage arrives and ushers in another signature problem called hyperphagia or the inability to feel full. While most of us overeat due to lack of discipline, kids with PWS do so because they really do feel hungry most (if not all) of the time.
This leads to complications such as obesity, which may be still be prevented with strict dieting and exercise. PWS also has numerous complications like below average mental capacity, developmental delays, low metabolism, and so many more.
Researchers are working on finding better management plans for the disorder, and maybe someday, even a cure. However, there aren’t enough funds or researchers to do the job, especially since the field of genetics requires high academic credentials if you want to find a job as a researcher.
If you wish to find out more about PWS and how you can help, you can visit the Foundation for Prader Willi Research.
Image via FPWR.org