Study discovers why some obese people are protected from some diseases

A peer-reviewed study finds that specific genes may determine whether obese people are metabolically healthy.

The Health Ministry's new chart on healthy food consumption. (photo credit: HEALTH MINISTRY)
The Health Ministry's new chart on healthy food consumption.
(photo credit: HEALTH MINISTRY)

Whether obese people are metabolically healthy or not may come down to the specific genes they have, according to a peer-reviewed study that was published on eLife Sciences on Tuesday.

Those that are unhealthy may suffer from heart disease or type 2 diabetes. 

Researchers in the study have selected 37 chronic diseases that are associated with obesity and genetic variants relating to different aspects of weight gain. They used these variants to test chronic diseases' effects. The research also included the participation of more than 500,000 people aged 37 to 73 between 2006 and 2010 from across the UK.

Using Mendelian randomization (MR), which is a research method that provides evidence about causal relations between modifiable risk factors and disease, identified two sets of diseases.

Of the 37 diseases, 12 were related to genes that determine whether someone has a "favorable adiposity," whilst nine are unrelated. 

Overweight man [Illustrative] (credit: INGIMAGE)Overweight man [Illustrative] (credit: INGIMAGE)

Overall, researchers still conclude that whether someone has favorable or unfavorable adiposity, obesity should still be considered a hazard to one's health. 

Results would reportedly help doctors to decide if they should be targeting the adverse effects of someone’s obesity or encouraging them to lose weight.