17 Nov The “Obesity Gene” Fact or Fiction?
There have been lots of recent studies and research into the so called gene variant FTO that has been linked to obesity and weight gain, but what are the conclusions? Is this fact or fiction? An article written by NHS Choices sums it up nicely, see below:
“There’s been a lot of interest in how our genes interact with our environment and lifestyle when it comes to body weight.
The discovery that certain gene variants are associated with a higher chance of becoming overweight or obese has been taken by some to mean that people’s weight is genetically determined. That could lead to people fearing there’s no point in them trying to lose weight, but this study shows that isn’t the case.
The results sound like good news for anyone who wants to lose weight for health reasons. Diet and exercise programmes can help, and even if you carry the “obesity gene” variant, these results suggest you have as much chance of success as anyone else.
This is particularly important for the increasing numbers of adults who are overweight or obese.
According to the 2014 Health Survey for England, 62% of adults were either overweight or obese and 23% were obese.
There are a few points to bear in mind:
– the summary included only eight studies, with a relatively low number of participants overall for a meta-analysis
– the study only looked at one type of genetic variant, although this was the one most strongly linked to obesity. It’s possible that other genetic variants or combinations do have an effect on weight loss
– the majority of the studies were carried out in white people from Europe or the US, so we don’t have a clear picture from this study whether ethnic background affects outcomes differently
– due to the short follow up of some studies
we can’t tell whether the genetic variant might affect the chances of putting weight back on after initial weight loss”
People certainly can carry the “obese gene”, which has an effect on a person’s weight but it does not seem to effect the ability to loose weight. Increased activity, structured exercise and healthier food choices are still the main factors in determining the rate at which someone can loose weight effectively.
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Until next time,