Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Jeans too tight? 50 percent of adults can blame their genes and not just diet and exercise

20.01.2005


If you’re a middle-aged guy who’s packed on the pounds and now is battling to take them off, it’s a 50-50 shot that your jeans are fitting tighter because of your genes, according to a Saint Louis University School of Public Health study.



"About 50 percent of adult onset weight change remains genetic," says James C. Romeis, Ph.D., professor of health services research at Saint Louis University School of Public Health and the principal investigator of the study, which was published in a recent issue of Twin Research.

Romeis studied sets of twins who served in the military during the Vietnam War –some identical (who share the same genes) and some fraternal (who share half their genes) – and found that genes account for more than 50 percent of the change in Body Mass Index. How we deal with our environment – what we eat, the amount we eat and how much we exercise – accounts for the other 50 percent.


It’s tough enough for Joe Six Pack to take off weight. But for those whose genes predispose them to be heavy, weight loss is going to be difficult – really difficult – and take extra effort. "We’re not acknowledging the strength of genetic factors in our weight loss strategies," Romeis says. "You’ve got this genetic thing working against you that helps to explain why you’re so heavy and why you may fail at diets and weight loss programs."

Romeis studied nearly 8,000 male twins at enlistment during the late 1960s, who now are married, well-educated, employed and middle-class. In early adulthood, more than 75 percent were of normal weight. Twenty years later, more than 55 percent were overweight or obese. "Weight gain appears to increase gradually," Romeis says. "For these guys, it’s at about 30 years old. Your behavior changes at 30; you become more sedentary. At some point they tip into being overweight. Those who are overweight tip into becoming obese. It’s slow, incremental change. At the same time, we didn’t see much evidence that they lost weight during the same time period."

Romeis speculates that our increasingly sedentary, "super-size-it" lifestyle is particularly problematic for those who are at genetic risk of becoming fat. "While genetic vulnerability has probably not changed during the past few years, environments have, thus allowing for the genetic vulnerability to be expressed as what appears to be an alarming rate of increase."

Genetics helps to explain the difficulty these men have at maintaining a normal weight, but it doesn’t excuse it, Romeis says. "Losing weight is going to be a lot of work for these guys," he says. "Treatments and public health interventions need to recognize the magnitude of genetic factors if short-term and long-term interventions are to be effective."

But the battle of the bulge is worth waging, Romeis believes. "If we’re really serious about our collective waistline, we need to do a hell of a lot more than putting out a revised food pyramid," he says. "The main thing is for heavy people to realize nothing good will come from being obese. The risk of heart disease and diabetes increases as person becomes increasingly overweight. ’Risk factors’ seem to become a neutral term but they’re not at all neutral. They can be a death sentence."

Contact: Nancy Solomon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.slu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>