Scientists Explain Why Some Maintain a Healthy Weight

With recent weight loss drug trends like Ozempic and Wegovy, weight loss has always been a topic of interest. Now, scientists say regardless of their genetic propensity to obesity, certain people are more prone to weight gain.

The study, published in Obesity and led by Dr. Bram J. Berntzen of the University of Helsinki, says since 80% of the variance in a person's body mass index (BMI) in early adulthood may be attributed to genetics, gene studies have become an essential component of the survey of obesity.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) examine tens of thousands of genes, each contributing little to the risk of obesity. One may compute a genetic risk score using this data.

Twin studies examine pairs of identical or non-identical twins, and they may be used to distinguish between the role that environmental and genetic variables play in illness development.

When used with twin research, GWAS is a potent technique for examining variations in body weight. However, there have been significant methodological issues with earlier research in this field. The majority have analyzed a set of twins with disparate BMIs.

Many of these studies merely examined body weight as of a particular moment in time, failed to account for the role of genetics in obesity adequately, or identified the higher BMI twin as the exception.

This disregarded the chance that the lighter twin may be slimmer despite their genetic makeup. Data from the Older Finnish Twin Cohort, a long-term health study of twins in Finland that began in 1975, were used in the current study.

The authors analyzed the 36-year BMI trajectories of twins born before 1958. They examined twins whose BMI in their early adult years fell into, or into, the range predicted by genetics. Thanks to this technique, they could comprehend both vulnerability to and resilience against weight increase over an extended length of time.

The study's methodology had a flaw in that BMI was self-reported. Based on the over a million distinct gene contributions to obesity, the authors computed a risk score.

It was more typical for one of the divergent twins to have acquired weight than their estimated BMI. This kind of variance was seen in two-thirds of the twin pairs.

The lower-weight twin in the remaining third of different twin pairs was the one who had deviated from their genetically anticipated weight. In general, research participants gained weight with time.

With a mean BMI rise of 4.5, underweight, within, and over-prediction in 1975, respectively, became average weight, overweight, and obesity by 2011.

People whose BMIs were lower than expected, according to the scientists, "have been protected from weight gain in their environment."

Berntzen stressed the importance of early adult BMI in predicting whether or not people achieve a healthy body weight 36 years later.

According to Berntzen, it is critical to research the causes of juvenile weight increase before it manifests in young adulthood.

The team concludes that the findings suggest that early-life influences continue into adulthood to influence weight increase trajectories.

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