The researchers, at Oxford University, have found a direct connection between the ‘fat’ gene (fat mass and obesity-associated gene) and increased weight. The research was published in Nature Genetics.
This gene was found to have multiple variants in 2007 – meaning that its variance in the population could provide an explanation for obesity – so scientists have been searching for its precise connection with obesity since then.
The leaders of the research project have said that the new findings could be used to develop an anti-obesity pill, but any pill resulting from these new findings wouldn’t be available for a long time yet.
The important question is – what would this pill be? Would we take it at birth to make sure we didn’t suffer from obesity? Would it turn into another vaccine we had to line up for at school?
Do we need another magic ‘lose all your ugly fat’ pill?
The diet industry is growing as quickly as obesity levels, which would indicate that something is not quite working.
In 2008, nearly a quarter of adults (over 16 years of age) in England were obese (had a BMI over 30). Just under a third of women, 32%, were overweight (a BMI of 25-30), and 42% of men were overweight.
Amongst children (2-15 years of age), one in six boys and one in seven girls in England were obese in 2008. The number of overweight children was also around one in seven.
The NHS predicts that the number of overweight and obese people is likely to increase.
The Foresight report, a scientific report used to guide government policy, has predicted that by 2025, nearly half of men and over a third of women will be obese.
Surely this tells us there should be a greater focus on changing the core reasons for obesity – the decrease in physical activity and increased intake of processed foods. We have to change the focus of our lives from convenience and speed – just look at how well convenience has treated the USA if you need any further evidence.
Most of us spend the majority of our day sitting in front of a computer, then fight to get a seat on the train so we can sit in front of the TV with our dinner. Hands up if you have two or more takeaway dinners a week?
Everything is geared towards us having to expend less and less energy, which is very bad news for our weight and health.
The reason for obesity is clearly much more than a greater susceptibility to the smell of food.
Sorry, we cannot blame our genes for this one.