“Genetic Deletion” Reason for Morbid Obesity: Are reports such as these a needed breakthrough in effective treatment, or is it yet another example of providing an opportunity to deflect responsibility for poor eating and exercise habits?

MONTREAL – Researchers have discovered that a small proportion of morbidly obese people are missing a chunk of their DNA, and that genetic deletion may be dramatically affecting their weight.

from Canadian Press article “Some morbidly obese missing genes that could affect weight: study” (February 3rd, 2010)

When study results such as the one referenced above are released they seem to inspire the “nature or nurture” debate that vacillates between the absolution sentiment of the Flip Wilson line “the devil made me do it,” and the take ownership dismissal of “putting the fork down and pushing away from the table” admonition of a Larry Winget (5 time bestselling author whose recent book Your Children Are Your Own Fault epitomizes taking ownership for your life).

Personally I have not done the degree of research to this point that provides me with even a reasonable basis from which to offer an opinion, let alone an informed analysis.

That said there is no doubt that weight and looks and all the adjunct “excess baggage” (excuse the play on words) that goes with it is an area of great consideration and interest for the vast majority of the population.  One just has to refer to the long-running series “The Biggest Loser.”

However, there statistics that are readily available that go beyond Winget’s findings that 27 out of 29 children have issues with obesity, which should give us all pause for thought.

Source: www.annecollins.com

USA Obesity Rates Reach Epidemic Proportions

  • 58 Million Overweight; 40 Million Obese; 3 Million morbidly Obese
  • Eight out of 10 over 25’s Overweight
  • 78% of American’s not meeting basic activity level recommendations
  • 25% completely Sedentary
  • 76% increase in Type II diabetes in adults 30-40 yrs old since 1990

While these numbers are telling in and of themselves, it is the consequences that should cause each one of us to take a serious look at ourselves in the mirror:

Obesity Related Diseases

  • 80% of type II diabetes related to obesity
  • 70% of Cardiovascular disease related to obesity
  • 42% breast and colon cancer diagnosed among obese individuals
  • 30% of gall bladder surgery related to obesity
  • 26% of obese people having high blood pressure

Childhood Obesity Running Out of Control

  • 4% overweight 1982 | 16% overweight 1994
  • 25% of all white children overweight 2001
  • 33% African American and Hispanic children overweight 2001
  • Hospital costs associated with childhood obesity rising from $35 Million (1979) to $127 Million (1999)

Childhood Metabolic and Heart Risks

  • New study suggests one in four overweight children is already showing early signs of type II diabetes (impaired glucose intolerance)
  • 60% already have one risk factor for heart disease

Surge in Childhood Diabetes

  • Between 8% – 45% of newly diagnosed cases of childhood diabetes are type II, associated with obesity.
  • Whereas 4% of Childhood diabetes was type II in 1990, that number has risen to approximately 20%
  • Depending on the age group (Type II most frequent 10-19 group) and the racial/ethnic mix of group stated
  • Of Children diagnosed with Type II diabetes, 85% are obese

Going back to the story that prompted this post, while there are perhaps legitimate cases where obesity can be linked to a specific “genetic deletion” what is the excuse for the rest of us (myself included)?

Just as a side note, here is another excerpt from the same article regarding Body Mass Index or BMI that should serve as a good starting point in terms of taking positive action (what is your BMI?):

“About two per cent of North Americans are morbidly obese, with a Body Mass Index over 40. (A healthy BMI, a mathematical ratio of weight and height, is between 18.5 and 24.9.)”

2 Responses to ““Genetic Deletion” Reason for Morbid Obesity: Are reports such as these a needed breakthrough in effective treatment, or is it yet another example of providing an opportunity to deflect responsibility for poor eating and exercise habits?”
  1. Larry Winget says:

    Just what our society needs: another excuse for being obese! I think soon we will see that fat people everywhere scramble to claim they are a “part of that small percentage of obese people who are missing a chunk of their DNA.” Push away the plate. Smaller portions. Eat less. Turn off the television. Get off the couch. Walk. Exercise more. If you have to walk sideways through a door, you are too fat. If your kid wears out the inside thighs of their pants before they wear out the knees of their pants they are fat – and it’s YOUR fault. Wake up folks. Obesity related diseases are the number one cause of death. You are committing suicide one bite at a time!

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