Obesity-related genes do not prevent weight loss, says study

Obesity-related genes weight loss

Many factors can influence weight loss, such as emotions, hormones, diet, living environment, physical activity, and relationships with other people.

Among these factors, genetic factors have attracted scientists’ attention. In a recent review published in BMJ, researchers review whether obesity-related genes influence weight loss.

Researchers from Newcastle University in the UK, Deakin University in Australia, Brown University, Massachusetts General Hospital, George Washington University, University of Navarra in Spain, National University of Singapore, University of Copenhagen in Denmark and many other institutes conducted the review.

Researchers focused on the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene. They reviewed the effect of the FTO gene on weight loss after dietary, physical activity, or drug based interventions.

They first collected published studies from large public database like Ovid Medline, Scopus, Embase, and Cochrane.

After carful checking, they selected 8 studies in their review. These studies involved 9563 participants in total.

The result showed that overall, changes in BMI, body weight, and waist circumference in response to weight loss intervention were not related to FTO genotype.

Moreover, different changes in BMI, body weight, and waist circumference by FTO genotype did not differ by intervention type, intervention length, ethnicity, gender and age.

Researchers suggest that carrying obesity-related genes seems not to influence the body weight after weight loss interventions. In other words, people cannot blame their genes for failing to lose weight. A focus on personalized interventions based on genome may not be very effective, at least in the short term.

Interventions focused on other factors, such as diet and physical activity, might be more helpful.

Citation: Livingstone KM, et al. (2016). FTO genotype and weight loss: systematic review and meta-analysis of 9563 individual participant data from eight randomised controlled trials. BMJ, i4707. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i4707.
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