According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 13% of adults across the world have obesity. In the United States, the situation is even more concerning, with almost 40% of the adult population living with obesity.
Although obesity is the result of a complex interplay between lifestyle and genes, a person’s genetic predisposition to the condition does play a central role, and researchers are only just starting to understand the influence that genes have on excessive body weight.
For instance, a study that appeared earlier this year compared over 14,000 participants with low, normal, and high body mass index (BMI) measurements, only to conclude that the “genetic dice are loaded” against those with obesity.
Another recent study found that single-gene mutations are responsible for approximately 30% of severe obesity cases in children, and older estimates suggested that as much as 81% of a person’s weight could be heritable.
The researchers examined data from 18,424 “unrelated Han Chinese adults” who were between 30 and 70 years of age and had participated in the Taiwan Biobank study.
Lin and colleagues looked at five obesity measurements: BMI, body fat percentage, waist circumference, hip circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio. The team also used internal weights from the Taiwan Biobank study to devise genetic risk scores for each of the five obesity measurements.
In this regard, new research brings much-needed hope. Wan-Yu Lin of the National Taiwan University in Taipei City recently led a study reviewing the types of physical exercise that are particularly effective in offsetting the genetic predisposition to obesity.
Lin and colleagues published their findings in the journal PLOS Genetics.

Writer: Sakshi Gupta

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