'Fat genes' connected to obesity risk
People with the most "fat genes" are around 25 times more likely to become severely obese than people whose DNA has the greatest protective effect, a study has found.
While diet, exercise, ill health and hundreds of other factors are major determiners of obesity, US researchers found genetics can have a "profound effect".
While just 10% of a person's obesity risk may be affected by DNA, this adds up to a difference of two stone (13kg), on average, between the most affected and protected groups at middle age.
The researchers, led by MIT and Harvard Medical School, developed their findings into a genetic "risk score" that can potentially be used from birth to take protective action.
"We have always had a hunch that some people may have been born with a genetic profile that predisposes them to obesity, and we now confirm that this is both true and quantifiable," said Dr Amit Khera, one of the authors and a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.