New research indicates that the genetic dice are loaded in favour of thin people and against those at the obese end of the spectrum.
More than six in ten adults in the United Kingdom are now overweight, which means having a BMI of 25 to 29, while one in four adults is obese, meaning a BMI of 30 and above, while by the age of five nearly one in four children is either overweight or obese. Some people seem able to eat what they like and remain thin.
Prof Sadaf Farooqi, who led the research, said: "It's easy to rush to judgment and criticize people for their weight, but the science shows that things are far more complex".
Researchers found people who were obese were more likely to have a set of genes linked to being overweight.
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A groundbreaking study by Cambridge University, which focused on healthy adults with a low body mass index (BMI), reveals the impact of genetics on body size is greater than previously thought. They worked with general practices over the United Kingdom, taking salivation tests to empower DNA investigation and getting some information about their general health and ways of life.
It is believed to be the only cohort of its sort in the world and the scientists state that the UK's National Institute for Health Research - the National Health Service's examination foundation - emphatically empowered and upheld their exploration.
In this investigation, scientists compared DNA samples from 1,600 healthy thin people in the United Kingdom - with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18 - with those of 2,000 severely obese people and 10,400 people of normal weight. Hundreds of genes have been found that increase the chance of a person being overweight and in some people, faulty genes can cause severe obesity from a young age.
Previous studies of twins have found that their differing body weight was largely influenced by their genes.
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In other words, thin people tend to have fewer genetic variants that increase the chances of developing obesity. In addition, they found new genetic regions involved in severe obesity and some involved in healthy thinness. They calculated a genetic risk score from their findings. "The genetic dice are loaded against them", explains Dr Barroso. The authors confirmed that DNA is important by giving thin and obese people from the UK Biobank genetic database "risk scores" based on their genes. While issues such as easier access to unhealthy food and beverages, as well as people's sedentary lifestyles do contribute to the problem, the researchers show that weight maintenance is not just a simple matter of diet.
To investigate, the scientists compared the genetic data of 1,622 thin people (74 percent of whom saw thinness run in the family), 1,985 severely obese people, and a further 10,433 individuals with a normal weight to act as the control. It nearly doesn't seem fair, but in the largest study of its kind, researchers from The University of Cambridge found that genetics may be in play when it comes to some slim people's advantage.
"We already know that people can be thin for different reasons", says Farooqi.
There are people who need to watch what they eat so as not to put on excess weight and there are also people who can eat what they want and get away with it.
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