A large multinational study involving almost 250,000 patients reported that 18 new gene sites related to obesity have been identified along with 13 additional sites associated with how fat is distributed in the body. The researchers speculated that various combinations of these gene sites may be an important factor in determining body habitus. Women were much more likely than men to have gene combinations predisposing them to deposition of fat in the hips and thighs whereas men were more likely to have combinations favoring abdominal fat deposition.
Dr Blackshear’s Comment:
This study is yet another demonstration that an individual’s genetic makeup plays an important role in determining how they acquire, process and store calories. Genetic makeup may well explain while some patients remain lean when consuming calories far in excess of others who seem to gain weight on a much lower caloric intake. It has been known for years that men have a higher incidence of metabolic syndrome and earlier onset type II diabetes and coronary artery disease. These metabolic abnormalities are strongly associated with abdominal fat deposition and this new study suggests that abdominal fat is under genetic control. It also raises the possibility that genetic therapy may eventually become an important tool in future treatment of obesity.