British researchers have found a gene variant that appears to increase the risk of obesity.
The researchers, from Peninsula Medical School, studied the blood samples of 39,000 people in the United Kingdom, Finland and Italy. Researchers found that the gene, called FTO, raised the risk of obesity when it was altered.
Researchers report in the journal Science that people who had had the variant gene were 67 percent more likely to be obese than those with the normal version of the gene. Roughly 63 percent of the people surveyed had the variant gene. The effects of the variant gene on obesity were seen in people as young as 7 years of age.
While these findings are encouraging in the field of nutrition and health, genes alone are not the cause of the current obesity epidemic. Other factors, such as a poor diet and lack of exercise are major contributing factors to the current obesity rates in Canada, and the rest of North America.
Further studies will be needed to examine the FTO gene and the effects it has obesity.
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