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Obesity genetic?

7th February 2008

A study of more than 5,000 sets of twins has revealed that becoming overweight as a child is more likely to be the result of genes rather than lifestyle.


Researchers from University College London examined pairs of identical and non-identical twins and concluded that differences in body mass index and waist size were 77% governed by genes.

The research was conducted by the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL, which appears to have shed some light on the extent to which people are pre-programmed to be overweight by their genetic makeup.

Identical twins have exactly the same genes, while non-identical twins are genetically different.

But because they were born at the same time and raised in the same circumstances, they have similar diets meaning scientists can measure differences in weight and calculate how much of that difference can be blamed on environment, and how much on genes.

It emerged that a poor environment had less effect on a child’s weight than their genes.

Professor Jane Wardle, who led the study, said: “It is wrong to place all the blame for a child's excessive weight gain on the parents - it is more likely to be due to the child's genetic susceptibility.

“These results do not mean that a child with a high complement of susceptibility genes will inevitably become overweight, but that their genetic endowment gives them a stronger predisposition.?

However, the Child Growth Foundation stressed that it remained important that parents did not give up on healthy lifestyles.


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Article Information

Title: Obesity genetic?
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 5555
Date Added: 7th Feb 2008


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