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Why do some people manage to stay thin? – 30.01.2009

There are those who can eat without depriving themselves of anything, giving themselves preference that others live as pleasures, and the body does not show this, while others easily gain weight. A study by scientists from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom showed that genetics play a more important role in terms of weight than will.

Overweight and obesity are not an aesthetic problem, but health, because they increase the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer, as well as other complications.

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Although it is known that changes in our environment, such as easy access to high-calorie foods and a sedentary lifestyle, have led to an increase in obesity in recent years, there is significant individual variations in weight in a population that shares the same medium. It seems that some people may eat what they like and stay thin, which often leads to the fact that those who are overweight are marked as lazy or deprived of will power.

With the support of Wellcome and the European Research Council, the group led by Professor Sadaf Faruki from the Institute of Metabolic Sciences Wellcome-MRC at the University of Cambridge took up the “Study of thin and slim people” (STILTS, its abbreviation in English) to understand why and how some people easier to stay thin than others.

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Twin studies have shown that the change in body weight is very dependent on our genes. Today, research is mainly focused on people who are overweight. Of these, hundreds of genes have been found that increase the likelihood that a person is overweight, and in some defective genes can cause severe obesity since childhood.

Prof. Faruki’s team recruited 2,000 thin people (defined as body mass index -IMC- less than 18 kg / m2), but healthy, without diseases or eating disorders. They worked with general practitioners throughout the UK, took saliva samples for DNA analysis and asked participants to answer questions about their general health and lifestyle. It is believed that one of a kind cohort in the world and scientists stress that the National Institute for Medical Research in the United Kingdom, the research infrastructure of the National Health Service, has enabled and largely supported its research.

In a study published in the journal PLOS Genetics, the team of Professor Farouki collaborated with the team of Dr. Inés Barroso at the Wellcome Sanger Institute to compare DNA of about 14,000 people: 1,622 volunteers from the group STILTS; 1985 people with severe obesity and another 10,433 controls of normal weight.

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Our DNA consists of a sequence of molecules known as base pairs, represented by the letters A, C, G, and T. The chains of these base pairs form genetic regions (which include or form our genes). Genes provide code for how our body works, and spelling changes, such as C instead of A, can have Subtle or sometimes dramatic changes by characteristics such as hair color and eye color, as well as human weight.

Genetic risk assessment

The team found several common genetic variants already identified by the role they play in obesity. In addition, they found new genetic regions involved in severe obesity, and some in healthy thinnessTo see the impact these genes have on human weight, scientists have added the contribution of various options for calculating an indicator of genetic risk.

"We found that obese people had Higher genetic risk than people with normal weight, which increases the risk of overweight. Genetic bones loaded against them"says Dr. Barroso.

It is important to note that the team also showed that thin people had a much lower genetic risk; they presented fewer options, which, as we know, increase a person’s chances of being overweight.

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"This study shows for the first time that thin, healthy people tend to be thin, because they have fewer genes, which increase the likelihood that a person will be overweight and not because they are morally superiorAccording to some, says Professor Faruki. It is easy to rush to judge and criticize people for their weight, but science shows that everything is much more complicated. We have far less control over our weight than we might think. ”

Three out of four people (74%) in the STILTS cohort presented Family history of thin and healthyand the team found some genetic changes that were significantly more frequent in thin people who, they said, could allow them to identify new genes and biological mechanisms that help people stay slim.

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“We already know that people can be thin for various reasons,” says Faruki. “Some people are simply not so interested in food, although others may eat what they like but never gain weightIf we can find genes that prevent them from gaining weight, we can turn to these genes to find new weight loss strategies and help people who do not have this advantage. ”

(Source: DPA)

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