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Obesity: genes, glands or gluttony?

Abstract

Distribution as well as amount of fat has health implications; central abdominal fat seems to be the major contributor to insulin resistance and risk of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Physical activity and diet affect overall adiposity; moreover, exercise specifically reduces visceral fat. The sexes differ in fat distribution; in particular, pre-menopausal women, despite greater overall adiposity, have much less visceral fat than men. There is a strong genetic determination of overall obesity and central abdominal adiposity. Genes regulating obesity (e.g. Ob) could modulate appetite, satiety, metabolic rate or physical activity. Moderate obesity probably results from interaction between genetic predisposition and an environment of abundant calories and reduced physical activity. Single gene mutations are being identified in a few morbidly obese people; however, the common genetic predisposition for obesity may relate to more subtle variations in regulatory controls. Diet and exercise are effective for some, but the response is often disappointing. Definition of pathways controlling appetite, metabolic rate and lipid metabolism may generate improved pharmacological compounds. Education and availability of lower-energy foods may help, but more radical approaches may be needed, such as environmental restructuring to increase physical activity. The problem is great, but failure will mean intolerably increased health costs.

Type Journal
ISBN 1031-3613 (Print)
Authors Chisholm, D. J.;Samaras, K.;Markovic, T.;Carey, D.;Lapsys, N.;Campbell, L. V. :
Garvan Authors Prof Katherine Samaras
Publisher Name Reprod Fertil Dev
Published Date 1998-01-01 00:00:00
Published Volume 10
Published Issue 1
Published Pages 49-53
URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=9727592
Status Published In-print