18 Feb Obesity: Linked to Genetics of Appetite and Satiety
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Clare Llewellyn PhD Cpsychol
Lecturer in Behavioural Obesity Research
Health Behaviour Research Centre
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
University College London, London
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Llewellyn:This study indicated that appetite – and, in particular, satiety sensitivity (how quickly you feel full during eating, or how long you remain full after eating) – could be one of the mechanisms through which ‘obesity genes’ influence body weight.
We know that body weight has a strong genetic basis, but the mechanisms through which ‘obesity genes’ influence weight are largely unknown.
We showed that children with a higher genetic predisposition to obesity (estimated from a score comprising 28 known obesity-related genes) not only had more body fat (a larger BMI and waist circumference), but importantly they were also less sensitive to satiety.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Llewellyn: Children who demonstrate low satiety sensitivity are at greater risk of obesity. This appetitive characteristic is something for parents and clinicians to be aware of.
Satiety sensitivity could be targeted for pharmacological and behavioural interventions, to prevent or treat obesity. For example, children who demonstrate low satiety sensitivity could be taught techniques to improve their fullness signals when eating, such as slowing their eating speed. Another approach might be to provide better advice to parents and children about appropriate portion sizes, and limiting ‘seconds’. Pharmaceutical companies could develop drugs that increase satiety responsiveness to food.