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Scientists find new genetic predictor of obesity

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The Jakarta Post

-  /  Fri, June 7, 2019  /  05:09 pm
Scientists find new genetic predictor of obesity

Cropped image of a person standing on weighing scales with grey background. (Shutterstock/VGstockstudio)

A study published in April in the Cell journal  reveals the finding of a new polygenic predictor of obesity. As the predictor, the scientists have created what they call a genome-wide polygenic score (GPS), which is comprised of 2.1 million common genetic variants working together to influence body weight and thus obesity.

The study, involving more than 300,000 individuals of varying ages, finds that the polygenic predictor can result in a 13-kilogram weight difference in a middle-aged person. A high polygenic score increases the risk of extreme obesity, coronary disease, heart failure and mortality.

The effect of genes on body weight can be observed since early childhood and becomes more noticeable into adulthood.

However, the authors note that the "polygenic susceptibility to obesity is not deterministic". Among individuals who carry most of the common variants in the polygenic score, 17 percent have normal body weight and 0.2 percent are underweight – as measured by the body mass index (BMI).

Read also: Obesity continues to haunt Indonesia despite campaign

The study also mentions that the environment plays a role in "unmasking" the inherited susceptibility to obesity, listing unhealthy diet, a lack of physical activity and sedentary behavior as key factors.

The authors further conclude that intervention should take place as early in life as possible. (dev/kes)

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