Obesity gene tests may not hamper weight-loss efforts

Sept. 6, 2013, U.S. News & World Report

Genetic testing for obesity risk does not discourage people from trying to lose weight —instead, it may help reduce how much they blame themselves for their weight problems, according to a small new study.

Research has shown that genes influence a person’s risk of becoming overweight and one gene, called FTO, appears to have the greatest effect. The “A” variant of the gene is associated with a greater risk of weight gain, while the “T” variant of the gene is associated with a lower risk.

One in two people has at least one copy of the A variant. People with two A variants — one from their mother and one from their father — are 70 percent more likely to become obese than those with two T variants, according to the study authors at University College London (UCL). Continue reading