We all have a friend who seems to eat and eat and eat without putting on a single pound. Unfortunately, for those who hope to learn this trick, it seems as if this quirk is deeply embedded in our DNA.
New research, published in the open-access journal PLOS Genetics set out to find the "genetic architecture" of skinniness and severe obesity in the "largest study of its kind to date". Their findings highlight several new genetic variants that are widely associated with severe obesity and others linked to "healthy thinness", which can help explain why some people find it easier to stay slim than others
Much of the focus on the so- called obesity epidemic is on environmental factors, such as calorific diets or lazy lifestyles ̵
In short, obesity is a more complex situation than just eating too many burgers
"This research shows for the first time that healthy thin people are generally thin because they have a lower burden of genes that increase their person's chances of being overweight and not because they are morally superior, as some people like to suggest, "the study leader Professor Sadaf Farooqi said in a statement. "It's easy to rush to judge and criticize people for their weight, but science shows that things are far more complex. We have far less control over our weight than we might think. "
Researchers led by University of Cambridge in the UK looked at the DNA of some 14,000 people – 1,622 thin people, 1,985 severely obese people, and 10,433 people with an average body mass index (BMI). "After identifying the genes that appeared to be linked to slimmer people, they then worked out a genetic risk score for each person
" As expected, we found that obese people had a higher Genetic risk score is more likely to be overweight, "said Dr. Inês Barroso of the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
It is still unclear how these genetic variants can dictate weight gain, although a number of previous studies have suggested it's a matter of metabolism.
Obesity is a growing problem in many parts of the world, with over 93 million people, almost 40 percent of the population, in the U S are classified as being obese – and that figure is continuing to rise. In the UK, that figure is around one in four. "Professor Farooqi added:" If we can find the genes that prevent them from putting on weight, we may be able to target those genes to find new weight loss strategies and help people who do not have this advantage. "