Skip to content

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Obesity in the Genes?

Common Variation in FTO Gene May Make Obesity More Likely
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 12, 2007 -- Researchers today announced the discovery of the first common gene link to obesity.

They reviewed genetic data on more than 38,000 children and adults in the U.K. and Europe. A certain variation in the FTO gene was associated extra body fat, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Other studies show there are genetic links to obesity. But "the key thing about this finding is that this is a common variant, which is present in over half the population" studied, Andrew Hattersley, DM, FRCP, told reporters in a news conference.

Hattersley is a professor of molecular medicine at Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, England.

Lifestyle Still Counts

The finding sheds new light on the genetics of obesity. But diet and exercise still count, notes researcher Timothy Frayling, PhD, tells WebMD.

"Certainly diet and exercise are very important factors in influencing obesity risk and regardless of your genetic makeup it remains important to try to eat sensibly and exercise," says Frayling, an associate professor at Peninsula Medical School.

"However," Frayling says, "we all know people who are careful with their diets and take regular exercise but still cannot avoid putting on weight as they get older, whilst conversely there are people who are not very careful and remain slim.

"It is these types of differences that are likely to have a genetic component and our finding represents one of those genes," says Frayling.

Today on WebMD

measuring waist
4 tips for shedding yours.
apple cider vinegar
Does it have health benefits?
 
Chocolate truffle
For weight loss, some aren’t so bad after all.
woman holding red dress
24 simple, practical tips.
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
fat caliper
Tool
 

Special Sections