Tags: obesity | genes | diet

'Obesity Genes' Influence Diet

Wednesday, 30 May 2012 12:00 PM

Can obesity be blamed on genes? To a certain extent, the answer is “yes,” according to a new study linking numerous “obesity genes” to a tendency by some people to eat more meals and snacks, consume more calories and choose sugary, high-fat foods.
Researchers – led by Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center in Rhode Island -- who studied 2,000 individuals found those with variations in nearly a dozen genes linked to obesity were more likely to have dietary habits that put them at risk of being seriously overweight.
The study findings, published online by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest genetic tests may offer a new way to help identify and help people who are predisposed to becoming obese. Clinicians may be able to use the information to help at-risk patients change their eating patterns, be smarter about food choices, increase their physical activity and adopt other healthier lifestyle habits.
"Understanding how our genes influence obesity is critical in trying to understand the current obesity epidemic, yet it's important to remember that genetic traits alone do not mean obesity is inevitable," said lead researcher Jeanne M. McCaffery. "Our lifestyle choices are critical when it comes to determining how thin or heavy we are, regardless of your genetic traits. However, uncovering genetic markers can possibly pinpoint future interventions to control obesity in those who are genetically predisposed."
For the study, researchers tracked individuals who were surveyed about their eating habits and underwent gene testing. Researchers then sought to determine whether genetic factors influenced the pattern or content of the participants' diets.
Investigators found variations in several key genes were linked with a greater number of meals and snacks per day, higher-calorie food choices and more servings of fats, oils and sweets.
"The good news is that eating habits can be modified,” said McCaffery, “so we may be able to reduce one's genetic risk for obesity by changing these eating patterns."

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Nearly a dozen genes have been linked to the consumption of more meals, calories and sugary, high-fat foods.
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 12:00 PM
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