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David Plaut: Off the Cuff

The Biology and Genetics of Obesity

Published May 22, 2014 1:46 PM by David Plaut

Many years ago, I came up with a sure way to lose weight – take in fewer calories than you burn. What could be simpler?

I was not alone. A study of more than 1100 adults found that 61% of U.S. adulates that “personal choices about eating and exercise” were the cause of overweight.

Over the past few years, data have been accumulating that indicate that while I might be correct in many, even most cases, there was a group of people with whom my plan would not work.

Today, molecular genetics is central to obesity research. In 2007, Mark McCarthy, Andrew Hattersley, and their colleagues in the UK identified a common variant in FTO, the fat-mass and obesity–associated gene, and gene hunters aided by the use of next-generation–sequencing technology continue to identify gene variants or mutations. These studies reinforce what some researchers have been insisting for more than a century: that obesity is innate in some people, that for them weight regulation is not governed by a uniform tally of “calories in–calories out,” Genetic predispositions, in tandem with the development of food environments that facilitate overeating and built environments requiring minimal energy expenditure, may help explain why so many Americans are obese today.

Chin Jou, N Engl J Med 2014; 370:1874-1877


posted by David Plaut


I do believe that providing reasonably priced activities such as the YMCA, dance halls, and definitely a good walk in the schools at every level right through high school would be very benificial.  In the country we need side walks and please, If the food is to blame, why then is is not forbiden to be sold?   Can't these businesses make a profit on good healthy foods?

Odelcia Silvia, Lab - Phlebotomist, Togus VA May 23, 2014 10:16 PM
washington ME

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