Genetic risk of obesity in an obesogenic environment

A recent study carried out by researchers in the United Kingdom (UK) has found that obesogenic environments heighten the genetic risk of obesity. An obesogenic environment is one that promotes weight gain and is not conducive to weight loss.

Data used was from the UK Biobank study and included 120,000 participants. Researchers examined 12 measures of an obesogenic environment including diet, socioeconomic status, TV watching and physical activity. Genetic susceptibility was determined by looking at 69 genes and their variants known to be associated with obesity. Weight status and body mass index (BMI) of participants was also known.

The strongest environmental factors in this study were socioeconomic status, physical activity and TV watching. There was no interactions between diet, genetics and the environment identified in this study. Included in the findings:

  • For individuals with a genetic susceptibility to obesity, those with a lower socioeconomic status were 1kg heavier than those with a higher socioeconomic status.
  • The effect of genetics on BMI was larger in people reporting less physical activity compared to those who reported more physical activity. The effect of genetics on BMI was also larger in those reporting watching 4 or more hours of TV per day compared with those watching 3 hours or less.



Posted: 17/01/2017 09:08:21 by Anne Parle
Filed under: Environment, Genetics, Obesity


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