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The Proof Is Not Always In The Pudding

The Proof Is Not Always In The Pudding


Doctors have often advised obese and overweight patients to follow a healthier diet and exercise more. But there may now be a reason why so many people can never manage to keep all the weight off even after extensive dieting and exercise.

A team of British scientists from the University of Oxford and the Peninsula Medical Center recently uncovered a variation in the FTO gene that is thought to be a link to obesity. The scientists took blood samples from more than 38,000 people (mostly white Europeans).


The study published in the journal Science reported that people who carried one copy of the FTO gene variation had a 30% increased risk of obesity and people who carried two copies of the gene variation had a 70% increased risk of obesity. The people who did not carry the FTO gene variation at all were generally slim and fit. About 1 in 6 of the people they studied carried two copies of the FTO gene variation.

Obesity and the many complications that accompany it (high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and diabetes) have become a major U.S. health concern in recent years. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the obesity rate in the U.S. doubled between the years 1980 and 2000. The CDC also reports that 30% of the U.S. population now suffers from obesity.

In order to control the growing problem of obesity it is imperative that doctors and patients understand how and why we lose and gain weight. This study is just one among many aimed at better understanding and treating people with weight problems. Researchers and doctors are quick to add that a healthy diet and regular exercise are still very important in battling obesity.

What do you think of the growing problem of obesity in this country?

Do you think the new discovery of this gene variation will help to treat and prevent obesity in the future?

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  • sarahjm222 By sarahjm222
    07.19.07  

    Thank goodness science has verified what I've suspected all along. I'm definitely carrying two copies of the FTO. So now what? I know more diet and exercise. It's a hard pill to swallow but I have to admit to myself that I need to dramatically change my lifestyle to combat this problem. Does anyone have any advice on how they've changed their mindset to allow them to lose the weight?

  • sharman421 By sharman421
    07.19.07  

    I hope this discovery will lead to a cure and not just an excuse to stay over weight. Some of us might feel there is nothing we can do about it if it is in our genes!

  • moestew By moestew
    07.21.07  

    i have to say that i think keeping up with exercise is good for u and does keep your weight down. i work in a deli and run all day. before i worked there i had a desk job and was gaining on average 5 lbs a year since working at the deli i have not gained any wieght in the last 7 years, i have not lost any either..pooh i hope sceince does find that these is something they can do about it

  • DJjazzy By DJjazzy
    07.25.07  

    It has taken me many years to finally believe what "they" say. It's a combination of diet and exercise that keeps your weight down and body fit. More importantly, I am happier when I am working out on a regular basis. I have to say that it wasn't until I added weight training in the regimen that I began to see the results I wanted. I wish I had figured this out in my 20's.

  • bevhenson By bevhenson
    07.25.07  

    I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!!!

    Atleast now I have a better understanding as to why a lifetime of "dieting" hasn't paid off with a size 2 body!!! This definitely puts things in better perspective and allows me to finally stop punishing myself for a failure that just might not be my fault!

    I've recently joined Sparkpeople.com to give me better tools to continue in my battle.... support, information, direction and a network of people undergoing the same fight as I. It just might be worth checking out if you're still planning on battling the bulge!

  • shesamazingnyc By shesamazingnyc
    07.25.07  

    I'm sure there is a fat gene. It makes sense.

    HOWEVER. People need to take a good hard look at the ingredients in their food. High fructose corn syrup, trans fats and artificial sweeteners play a huge role in the obesity epidemic. There has been a sudden spike in obesity since the introduction of these ingredients. I can promise you that the average American diet is a recipe for obesity and diabetes. People don't want to give up their processed food.

  • savanasmommy By savanasmommy
    07.28.07  

    The discovery of a fat gene can at least help those individuals who have extreme difficulty losing weight inderstsnd why they must work twice as hard (or more) to be fit than some others. It doesn't give them an excuse to quit fighting the battle. We all have limitations in one or more areas of our life, so we work harder than the others to keep up...I think back to high school and college days...some subjects come naturally to you and others you have to study like crazy for to absorb and understand the material. This thinking can be applied across the board...even when it comes to losing weight. If you are one of the unlucky ones, you have to have a VERY strict diet and be VERY devoted to your fitness plan. That's not a bad thing!

  • Betty2 By Betty2
    08.11.07  

    This is GREAT info...especially for the female gender of my family!

    Though my Dad was also overweight in his last days, my brothers were *average* weight wise.

    But my Mom, older sister & I were/are over weight, and even though I use to walk (10 miles ONE way) to & from work when I was younger...I was still 30 - 40 lbs over weight!

    It sure would be nice if they can find a way to make weight loss a bit easier for those that have this FTO gene...whether it be one OR two copies!

  • zionita By zionita
    10.05.07  

    Chemistry and genes must always play a role in our codies. You knoe there are so many diets and reimes ro eat ....if they really worked we would all be averaged size. I have dieted and excercised for years and never knew or understood why I can't keep it off.

    Why, oh, why was always my answer.....

    My father's side of the family was always large.

    Now what can we do ...now that we know?

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