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McDonald’s Off The Hook? More Genetic Forms Of Obesity Discovered

First Posted: Mar 28, 2017 05:02 AM EDT
Obesity Epidemic Hits California
According to a study, almost 53 percent of Californians over 25 are overweight, and more than 17 percent are obese, or extremely overweight and are costing nearly $21.7 billion a year in medical bills, injuries and lost productivity.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Scientists blamed the rising number of obese people to the fast food habit. Food stops such as burgers, take aways and pizza deliveries were thought to be the main problem that resulted to massive weight gain. Diet and exercise may play a major role in obesity; however, it seems that genetic forms of obesity are more common than expected.

According to CNN, scientists have been aware of two dozen conditions that could be attributed to weight gain. Nonetheless, it seems that there are more of them than expected. Canadian researchers were able to catalog 79 rare genetic syndromes with obesity as a key symptom. However, despite the focus of the study, the researchers want their work to be helpful for those who lost control of their weight for reasons other than their genes.

David Meyre, a senior author of the study published in Obesity Reviews, shared that scientists would know how to treat obesity better if they know the genes and the functions of such genes This leads to learning which biological mechanism is considered defective. The knowledge derived from these studies could then be applied to more common forms of obesity.

Leptin, for instance, is a hormone produced by fat cells and may be found deficient in some people. Knowledge of the existence and function of this gene then led to the understanding of fat cells and occurrence of weight gain.

Live Science reported that studies made with identical twins showed obesity to be around 40 percent to 75 percent genetic, at least based on the types that are associated with only one gene and causes of syndromes (a multitude of symptoms). The research found that while the sydromes are rare, there is a particular one that is more common than the others. This type, known as the Alstrom syndrome, is found in 1 out of 900 people worldwide.

More can be garnered from the study. "This suggests that discovering the genetic basis of the remaining obesity syndromes will yield huge advances in our understanding of obesity, which could lead to new opportunities for its treatment and prevention," said Dr. Liam R. Brunham, an assistant professor of medicine from the University of British Columbia.

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