Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Aug. 1, 2013 -- For people who often feel hungry right after eating, a recent finding about genetics and obesity was, if not welcome news, at least thought-provoking.

People who have two copies of a modified form (or variant) of a certain gene are much more likely to feel hungry after eating a meal, says researcher Rachel Batterham, MD, PhD, of the University College London.

One in six people has two copies of the modified "fat mass and obesity associated" (FTO) gene. That could help explain some obesity. People with this gene have high levels of the hormone ghrelin, which increases hunger.

Batterham and a U.S. expert in genetics and obesity talked about the finding and what it might mean.

Batterham is head of the University College London Centre for Obesity Research and head of Obesity and Bariatric Services at the UCL Hospital. Her study, published July 15 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, was funded by the Rosetrees Trust and others.

Lu Qi, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Q: Can you put this new discovery in perspective with other obesity and genetics findings, since many genes have been linked with body mass index and obesity?

The effect of FTO on obesity, so far, is that it's the most common “genetic contributor to overweight and obesity, and is estimated to affect 1 billion people worldwide," Batterham says.

This is one piece of the puzzle, she says, but possibly a key piece.

Qi agrees. But he cautions that scientists must test many more people to confirm Batterham’s results.

Q: At this point, how big of a role might genes play in obesity?

"From previous studies, it is estimated that 40% to 70% of a person's BMI is inherited," Batterham says, but it's complex and not as simple as just giving a percent.

Overall, the role of any single gene [in obesity] is not big, Qi says. However, if all the obesity-related genes are considered, “the effect would be sizable."

Q: Is it possible to be tested for the FTO variant?

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...