Friday, May 25, 2007

Obesity - all in the genes?

A new article published in Science has pointed to a common variant of a gene that may predispose some individuals to obesity. There is one particular position in the human DNA sequence that was found to increase an individuals risk of obesity by 67%. This variant is present in over half of the population and one sixth of the population has 2 copies of the gene....which explains why some individuals are heavier than others.

The variant resides within the FTO gene on chromosome 16 and the role is still a mystery. This new finding may show scientists a pathway that can be disrupted and have profound effects on fat development, weight regulation, obesity and type 2 diabetes risk.

Although research into FTO's role is in its early stages, it is hoped target therapy can be developed that will help us get a grip on the obesity epidemic.

We should keep in mind that having a genetic trait does not mean lifestyle changes are ineffective for weight control. Each of us has different traits that we must deal with and the fat gene just explains why some people can eat and still stay thin while others seem to fight the battle of the bulge all their life. Many of us are urging these researchers on to find a quick and easy fix for loosing weight. I vote for more funding for fat research!


Rich said...

If obesity is genetic why were there so fewer people with obesity in the early part of the century? Or even up until two decades ago we had significantly less cases than now. I’m disagreeing with the research I'm just curious.

Rich said...

Correction - I am NOT disagreeing with the resrearch.

Toni Brayer MD said...

Our natural tendency toward "set weight" and ability to metabolize is probably genetic but, clearly we have an obesity epidemic in the U.S. because of large portions, less activity, availability of food 24/7 and pre-prepared foods with sugar, carbs and fats. All of these are lifestyle determined. That said, some people seem to lose weight more easily than others...that is probably genetic. Thanks, Rich.

Rich said...

I truly beleive in execise and a sensible diet of veggies fruits and plenty of fiber will help anyone aviod obesity and diabetes that is also becoming problematic in certain communities across the country.

Health care providers see so much self induced obesity and diabetes.

Jacob said...

Quite worthwhile info, much thanks for the post.
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