Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Genes and fat

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Interesting article by Beverly J. Tepper and Kathleen L. Keller in The Scientist:

People the world over are getting fatter. Today more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese, and the rates in other industrialized countries are catching up. Obesity is no longer considered a condition particular to affluent societies—it has now spread to developing nations such as China and India, resulting in a global health crisis. According to the World Health Organization, 500 million adults worldwide are now obese, and this number is expected to climb well into the foreseeable future. Obesity is so problematic because it poses serious threats to personal health and well-being. Obese people are at an increased risk of chronic and potentially debilitating diseases such as cardiovascular disease and stroke, certain forms of cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and asthma, among others. And the impact of obesity on an individual’s work and family life can be far-reaching, affecting a person’s employability, work productivity, and ability to pursue interests and activities of daily life.

Although the consequences of obesity are clear, its origins are poorly understood. Since our genetic makeup has not changed appreciably in the past 30 years, changes in the food environment have been identified as causing much of the dramatic rise in obesity rates that began in the 1980s. Our food environment is often described as “toxic,” meaning that our constant exposure to palatable, high-fat, and energy-dense foods, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, is likely making us fat. Nevertheless, despite access to the same foods, not everyone becomes obese. And so, genetic variation must also play a role, rendering some people more vulnerable to caloric excess, and resulting in a range of body weights. Identifying the genes that are making such individuals more susceptible to weight gain is critical to understanding the basis of obesity as well as devising strategies to combat the condition.

A great deal of progress has been made in identifying the genes that may contribute to obesity. According to recent estimates, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2012 at 10:48 am

Posted in Food, Health, Science

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