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Genetics of Obesity in the new millennium

Genetics of Obesity in the new millennium

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Posted by Karen on October 27, 2000 at 17:47:36:

Although many still regard obesity as a problem of self-control, obesity is a
medical disorder that involves how we burn energy and how our appetites
are regulated. The diet industry collects more than $50 billion a year
promoting the idea that we can achieve an ideal body shape if we only
follow a few simple rules. This runs contrary to the emerging medical view
that our body shape and weight are very tightly regulated, that genes
control much of this regulation, and that it is very difficult to change.

A few facts illustrate this point. During each decade of life, the average
adult American eats 10 million calories -- an enormous amount of energy --
and gains only a few pounds. From this, we can calculate that the calories
eaten are 99.83% of the calories burned. Someone who is "only" 99.5%
efficient will gain weight at triple the usual rate. These numbers show that
appetite is precisely regulated in humans. Obesity is a problem where
hunger and metabolism are not properly coordinated.

People are obese if they weigh significantly more than their ideal body
weight. "Ideal body weight" is the weight that maximizes life span for a
person of a given height. By this definition, 20% of Americans are obese --
an epidemic, if this were any other disorder. Worse, obesity is becoming
more common, especially in the young.
Please join us at, Wednesday [email protected] 2pm PST /5pm EST for a very special audiocast event. Our special guest will be Craig H. Warden, Ph.D.. He will be addressing the topic of "The Genetics Of Obesity In The New Millennium".
About Dr. Warden:
Craig H. Warden, Ph.D., is a Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Dr. Warden worked as a postgraduate researcher at the Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA and transferred to the Atherosclerosis Research Unit in the Division of Cardiology at UCLA in 1984. In 1995 he joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis, as an assistant professor of pediatrics, where he is also a member of the Rowe Program in Genetics. His research interests include the identification and isolation of genes underlying common, complex diseases such as obesity, atherosclerosis and diabetes; the chromosomal mapping and cloning of diet-responsive genes that affect obesity and atherosclerosis; and the use of both human family studies and mouse models to investigate mechanisms of complex diseases.

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