By Thomas Hague

A recent study has found that obesity might not always result in severe side effects. Symptoms of obesity often include diabetes, heart disease and stroke, however, this study suggests that some people may be insulated from such obesity health risks due to genetic factors.

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine gathered 20 obese participants who gained 15 lbs in weight over several months as part of the study. Subject’s ability to regulate blood sugar and liver fat, and composition and sensitivity to insulin were measured before and after the weight gain.

double cheeseburger Participants gained weight by eating regulated portion sizes at fast-food restaurants under the supervision of dietitians. After measuring metabolic conditions after the test, researchers came to two conclusions. Firstly, if participants came into the study with normal metabolic profiles they remained normal after gaining weight. Secondly, participants with already abnormal profiles experienced worsening health conditions after the test. Surprisingly, this observation shows that about 25% of obese people are not at greater risk of diseases caused by obesity from additional weight. Researchers speculated that these results could be attributed to genetic factors, primarily the expression of genes that regulate the production and or accumulation of fat, which are not present in subjects that experienced worse health conditions. While this study focuses on adults, children obesity and metabolic abnormalities were not tested. However, children with these expressive genes for regulating fat accumulation are most likely part of the lucky 25%.

In the future, the team hopes to narrow down the key factors that influence obesity health risks. They want to determine whether it is genetics, dietary intake, physical lifestyle, emotional health or some combination of factors that promote obesity related diseases in some people but not in others.”