Title

Childhood Obesity: A Systems Medicine Approach

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-2016

Description

Childhood obesity and its sequelae are a major public health problem in both the USA and globally. This review will focus on a systems medicine approach to obesity. Systems medicine is an integrative approach utilizing the vast amount of data garnered from “omics” technology and integrating these data with conventional pathophysiology as well as diverse environmental factors such as diet, exercise, community dynamics and the intestinal microbiome. Omics technology includes genomics, epigenomics, metagenomics, metabolomics and proteomics. In addition to unraveling etiology, the goals of a systems medicine approach are to provide actionable and evidenced-based clinical approaches. In the case of childhood obesity, an additional goal is characterizing measureable risk factors/biomarkers for obesity at the earliest possible age and devising age-appropriate optimal intervention strategies. It is also important to establish the age at which interventions could be critical. As discussed below, it is possible that some of the pathophysiological and epigenetic changes resulting from childhood obesity could become more irreversible the longer the obesity remains untreated.

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