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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 252817, 19 pages
Review Article

AMPK as Target for Intervention in Childhood and Adolescent Obesity

1Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Research Center, University of Zulia, School of Medicine, Final Avenida 20, Edificio Multidisciplinario, primer piso, Maracaibo 4004, Venezuela
2Clinical Pharmacologic Unit, Vargas Medical School, Central University of Venezuela, Caracas 1010, Venezuela

Received 18 May 2010; Revised 25 July 2010; Accepted 15 October 2010

Academic Editor: S. B. Heymsfield

Copyright © 2011 Joselyn Rojas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Childhood obesity is a major worldwide health problem. Intervention programs to ameliorate the rate of obesity have been designed and implemented; yet the epidemic has no end near in sight. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has become one of the most important key elements in energy control, appetite regulation, myogenesis, adipocyte differentiation, and cellular stress management. Obesity is a multifactorial disease, which has a very strong genetic component, especially epigenetic factors. The intrauterine milieu has a determinant impact on adult life, since the measures taken for survival are kept throughout life thanks to epigenetic modification. Nutrigenomics studies the influence of certain food molecules on the metabolome profile, raising the question of an individualized obesity therapy according to metabolic (and probably) genetic features. Metformin, an insulin sensitizing agent, its known to lower insulin resistance and enhance metabolic profile, with an additional weight reduction capacity, via activation of AMPK. Exercise is coadjutant for lifestyle modifications, which also activates AMPK in several ways contributing to glucose and fat oxidation. The following review examines AMPK's role in obesity, applying its use as a tool for childhood and adolescent obesity.