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Mar 30, 2017 10:22 AM EDT

Genetics And Obesity: How Some Genes Make People Fat

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Genetics And Obesity
A new study revealed that obesity is affected by some genes and not just a result of poor lifestyle choices
(Photo : Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Poor lifestyle choices surely plays a role in obesity but a recent study conducted by scientists at McMaster University and the University of British Columbia in Canada showed that genes has more to do with obesity than previously thought.

Previous studies on obesity had shown that there are 20 to 30 types of obesity that are genetically caused. However, the recent study revealed that the number is much higher than previously thought - 79 types in all.

The scientists searched seven databases and analyzed 161 papers about obesity and found that there were actually 79 syndromes with obesity that were previously reported. Out of these 79 syndromes, 19 have been genetically solved which can be medically confirmed by a lab test. Another 11 types have been partially clarified while 27 have been mapped to a chromosomal region.

Yuvreet Kaur, the first author of the study, said that although each of these syndromes are rare, it is surprising to find out that they are diverse and numerous than scientists previously anticipated.

These rare genetic forms of obesity have obvious clinical features said lead researcher David Meyre. Some of these features include abnormalities of the face and specific organs as well as intellectual disability.

The researchers said that by being able to understand these types of genetic obesity, doctors will be able to help those who are affected by these mutations much more effectively. Moreover, they will also be able to understand obesity that commonly affects the general population.

Meyre also added that further study is needed to fully identify the genes that cause these types of obesity.

Obesity has become a major health issue in North America with the number of cases rising at an alarming rate over the past three decades. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one in three adults in the U.S. are considered to be obese while one in 20 adults have extreme obesity.

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