MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. John C. Mathers
Director, Human Nutrition Research Centre
Institute of Cellular Medicine and
Newcastle University Institute for Ageing
Biomedical Research Building
Campus for Ageing and Vitality
Newcastle on Tyne
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: More than 90 different genetics variants are associated with body fatness and, of these, the FTO gene has the biggest effect. People who are homozygous for the unusual variant of FTO i.e. carry two copies of the risk allele, are on average 3kg heavier than those not carrying the risk allele. In addition, they have 70% greater risk of being obese. Since the FTO gene is associated with being heavier, we wondered whether it made it more difficult for people to lose weight.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We used data from over 9500 people who had been tested for the FTO gene and who had taken part in randomised controlled weight loss trials. In our paper published in the BMJ, we found that the risk version of the FTO gene did not affect how much weight these study participants lost. In addition, the lack of effect of FTO was there in both men and women, in younger and older people and in different ethnicities.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Although some people may be able to blame their FTO gene for helping to make them a bit heavier, the good news it that it will not affect their ability to lose weight. So, if you are overweight or obese and want to lose weight, go easy on those sugary and fatty foods and get out for a walk!
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We need more research into effective ways of enabling people to choose heathier diets and to be more physically active and to keep on making those lifestyle changes.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Livingstone, Katherine, Celis-Morales, Carlos, Papandonatos, George, Erar, Bahar, Florez, Jose,Jablonski, Kathleen, Razquin, Cristina, Marti, Amelia, Heianza, Yoriko, Huang, Tao, Sacks, Frank,Svendstrup, Mathilde, Sui, Xuemei, Church, Timothy, Jääskeläinen, Tiina, Lindström, Jaana,Tuomilehto, Jaakko, Larsen, Lesli, Uusitupa, Matti, Rankinen, Tuomo, Saris, Wim, Hansen, Torben,Pedersen, Oluf, Astrup, Arne, Sørensen, Thorkild, Qi, Lu, Bray, George, Martinez-Gonzalez, Miguel,Martinez, J. Alfredo, Franks, Paul, McCaffery, Jeanne, Lara, Jose and Mathers, John (2016) FTO genotype and weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 9,563 individual participant data from eight randomized controlled trials. British Medical Journal. ISSN 0959-8138 (In Press)
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