More Genetic Signals Linking Heart Health & Weight

Those who understand obesity know it is not a simple problem of overeating and being inactive. One of the causes suspected in having an impact on obesity is the environment. Researchers have made significant advances in understanding important environmental causes of obesity as well as finding several genes that might be implicated. Major efforts are now directed toward assessing the interactions of genes and environment in the obesity epidemic.

DNA_obesityTwo recent genetic studies expand the list of genes involved with body fat and body mass index (BMI), and their association with major health problems in the United States, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. One study found gene signals linked to higher levels of body fat, (but didn’t show that one caused the other – just that they were linked), while the other showed that higher BMI caused harmful effects on the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and inflammation.

The BMI study found that lowering BMI results in several reductions of cardiovascular traits: in inflammation, blood pressure, fasting glucose and insulin, and in the risk of diabetes. The other study analyzed the genes associated with central adiposity, which is the excess fat around one’s middle that leads to the “apple” body shape. That study identified three new genetic signals associated with central adiposity.  The researchers also found two more genetic signals only in women, providing initial clues of the genes involved with sex-specific body shapes. Further research using these findings may provide understanding into the actual biological mechanisms that dictate why men and women have different body distributions of fat deposits.

Dr. Terry Simpson, expert weight loss surgeon in Arizona, said “The studies confirm that obesity is related to genetics and some people are more predisposed to factors than others. This explains why all diets don’t work in all people. The best intervention we have is still surgery.”

Comments are closed.