November 02, 2016
2 min watch

VIDEO: Genes play a major role in weight gain

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NEW ORLEANS — In this video exclusive, ObesityWeek keynote speaker Sadaf Farooqi, PhD, FRCP, professor in the department of clinical biochemistry at University of Cambridge, describes how researchers are using genetics to understand weight regulation.

Although all weight gain is the result of calories consumed and calories expended, some people gain weight more easily than others. Several genes that contribute to weight regulation have been identified — all converging on the hormone leptin. Children with defects in these genes, particularly in MC4R, which regulates appetite, gain a lot of weight because they constantly seek food.

“This has shown us that there’s a real biological basis to our eating behavior,” said Farooqi. “Something we thought was simply under our voluntary control actually has a very strong biological basis.”

The goal, according to Farooqi, is to identify therapeutic targets for weight control.