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If You Are Fat, Blame It On Mom
Posted by Brando Dimagiba on 07/09/2013 09:22 PM

Well, not really. Maybe the continual eating of unhealthy food and the non-exercising are to blame for your rotund figure. But maybe also your mom. Not your mom per se but the genes you inherited from your parental units maybe be one of the culprits for your failing battle of the bulge.

A new study from the University College London, published on March 2013, suggests that genetics is a major factor in childhood obesity. Now, if you were thin as a child and blossomed to the barrel of a person you are now, this may not apply to you. Anyhow, the researchers examined a group of 2,269 children between 8 and 11 years old using a method called Genome-wide Complex Trait Analysis (GCTA) to see if the kids that are more or less genetically similar also had similar body weight. The result? Genes were responsible for 30% of individual weight differences. For those who are wondering, 30% is a lot - imagine your fat friend not eating three of the 10 meals he has per day and you will incessantly hear his cries of hunger.

Family history has long been recognized as an important risk factor for obesity. So it goes – if your mom was fat, chances are you are or will be fat too, fatter even. It was only logical. The apple ,as they say, is round and fat as you and your mom; and does not fall far from the tree – because of weight issues. However, quantitative genetic analyses are non-definitive as to the relationship between genetics and obesity. Although GCTA has made major inroads into explaining it.

But, even according to the researchers, the GCTA study is far from perfect as there are only a few genetic variants known to explain differences in body weight. The study indicates that there are many others yet to be discovered. According to the researchers:

“Although the method used in the GCTA analysis cannot be used to predict obesity risk for any one individual because the genetic variants involved are not identified, the results underline the importance of additive genetic effects in the development of adiposity in childhood. This supports the current convention of using parental weight status as a proxy for childhood obesity risk. Targeting children of obese parents for early-life obesity-prevention interventions, given that these children are most at risk, might be a useful direction to take.”

So it isn't too late for that chubby little neighbor kid of yours or your little huge brother, because remember it is not only genetics that is the problem here, food availability and eating patterns also contribute to the problem. And you can only blame your mom at most 30% for it, the other 70% you are free to blame whoever or whatever strikes your fancy.

TAGS: if you are fat, blame it on mom, genome-wide complex trait analysis, gcta, university college london