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The year of birth could affect weight

A new study has discovered that a person’s year of birth could influence whether or not they will become obese.

The gene FTO, which has been nicknamed the ‘obesity gene’, has been found to create hunger pangs and make it harder for a person to resist eating on impulse.

Activation of the gene has been linked with the year of birth, with those born earlier than 1942 unaffected by FTO. A link was found to exist between obesity and the gene in people whose year of birth was after 1942, with it being twice as strong as previously believed.

However, authors of the study, which was carried out in the US, also note that external factors since the end of World War II could play a role in obesity. The advances made in technology allow more sedentary employment rather than physical labour, while processed and convenience foods have a higher calorific value than fresh produce.

According to Dr James Niels Rosenquist, the lead author of the study, changing environment will have a huge impact on genetic traits in the future and not just familial genetics. He added that the study of genetics should be taken “with a grain of salt”.

Schools in the UK are already making changes to reduce the levels of child obesity, including the introduction of healthier school meals and the inclusion of more physical exercise. Many are also establishing healthy tuckshop foods, with Merseyside one of the regions that is encouraging nutritious alternatives to processed foods.

Posted by Jennifer
January 11, 2015
Research

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