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Study shows genetic risk for obesity in young mexican adults

By Angela Young

A recent study at the Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi, show that 35 percent of Mexican young adults may be linked to a genetic predisposition for obesity. The study consisted of 251 18-to-25-year-olds. They tested for risk alleles on the FTO gene. What they found is those who were 15 ½ pounds heavier and two inches bigger around the waist when both parents passed down genetic risk factors, over those who did not have the risk factors. Slightly higher than fasting glucose levels were also found in those with genetic risk factors.

The FTO gene is connected to a predisposition to obesity, increased waist size and increased body mass index (BMI). The group of 10,000 yearly applicants is students of the Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi and will be offering information on changes in their weight, BMI and how their eating and exercise habits affects their overall health over time.

The group tested includes 15 percent had the genetic risk from both parents, which means they carried two copies of the allele. 20 percent had the risk from one parent and sixty-five percent had no risk allele at all.

Researchers feel with this information young Hispanics could better fight against it through healthier eating and living habits. FTO markers and analysis has been done for other ethnic groups, including Caucasians, Asians and African-Americans, though few studies have looked into how this gene affects Mexican and Mexican-American groups.

While this is the only study to target younger Mexicans, there has been a study done with Mexican adults who are already diagnosed with obesity, diabetes and other obesity-related diseases. Scientists are considering that if a “fat” gene can be identified and changes in lifestyle made, the gene can be retained. This is especially important to do at a young age.

Though, an unhealthy lifestyle can cause weigh gain, a high BMI, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, when armed with the information of a predisposition a patient can work closely with their doctors to stave off future problems. With that said, a predisposition or “fat” gene doesn’t give the excuse for the presence of these potential health problems, it’s still the responsibility of the patient to take an active role in their health.


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