STYLE

Are Your Genes Affecting Your Weight?

28/09/2010 10:42 | Updated 22 May 2015

Obesity is a growing problem both in Britain and in America and researchers are increasingly considering the possibility that weight problems could be in the genes.

We take a look at the findings...

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Are genes the reason for obesity?

British scientists in 2007 discovered that a flawed version of the FTO gene (dubbed the 'fatso' gene) is found in the genetic make-up of one in six Brits, increasing their risk of obesity by 70 per cent and their risk of diabetes by 50

per cent.

Are genes the reason for obesity?

In 2009, scientists in Germany suggested that the FTO gene somehow suppresses the metabolism, thereby making it harder for carriers to burn calories and making them more sluggish. The research found that mice who lacked the gene burned energy faster than those with FTO simply by expending it in excess heat.

Are genes the reason for obesity?

Dr. Rudy Leibel, an American molecular geneticist has been studying the science of weight for years. He suggests in some cases a mutation in the leptin gene means that the "I'm full" signal never gets through to the brain causing those with the mutation to keep on eating.

Are genes the reason for obesity?

Ever wondered why some people can't wait to get to the gym while others languish on the sofa? Well, you may have your family to thank. Scientists in California claim to have found a "lazy gene", inherited from parents, which makes us more (or less) prone to exercise. Good news for couch potatoes though - they hope to one day develop a drug that targets the genes that promote activity.

Are genes the reason for obesity?

It's one thing to have the obesity gene but scientists in Ohio found that feeding mice a high fat diet actually induced the production of PKC beta, which plays an important role in weight gain. Mice that had been genetically engineered to lack the gene gained relatively little weight on the same fat-rich diet.

Are genes the reason for obesity?

Scientists from Imperial College London recently discovered that a small number of morbidly obese people were missing genes. Though they were unable to pinpoint the precise function of the missing genes, this gene "deletion" was not found in any participants of normal weight.

Are genes the reason for obesity?

In 1999, doctors studying the causes of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia found that, far from the culprit being the glossy magazines and media coverage of super-slim models, a variant serotonin receptor gene could be the cause. High levels of serotonin are linked to anxiety and anorexia patients were found to be twice as likely to have the variant gene than those without an eating disorder.

Are genes the reason for obesity?

Research published earlier this year concluded that childhood obesity is less a case of genetic predisposition than learned behaviours. The authors suggested that mums who struggle with their weight are more likely to have obese daughters and likewise father and son.

Are genes the reason for obesity?

If you're struggling to lose weight with the latest diet, it could be down to your genetic makeup. US scientists analysed the DNA of overweight women who had tried a number of weight loss programmes and found that some were better suited to low-fat while others had more success with low-carb. When they stuck to the right diet for their genotype, they lost roughly three times more weight than those who did not.

Are genes the reason for obesity?

Most recently a group of academics from Cambridge dismissed the obesity gene excuse as a "myth". Scientists at the Medical Research Council's Epidemiology Unit say that something in the region of 40 per cent of the extra weight from "fat genes" can be burned off with our old favourite... exercise.

Are genes the reason for obesity?

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