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Obesity research wins Fernström Prize
Date:9/11/2012

diseases, for example cachexia, or wasting syndrome, the opposite of obesity. This is a condition that affects some cancer patients and that can prove fatal. Another dangerous condition is a hereditary lipid disorder that gives patients dramatically raised cholesterol without them being obese. Another area of interest is of course the conditions associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

However, a third of all obese individuals turn out to have completely normal blood pressure and no insulin resistance (a preliminary stage of diabetes). For these people, the most likely health problem resulting from their obesity is joint problems caused by their weight.

Why do a third of obese individuals experience so few problems? This is a question which Peter Arner's team is now going to address. Perhaps these individuals have protective genes. One such gene, called cidea, was discovered by the team almost ten years ago. The gene stops the fat producing any waste products that can harm other cells.

Waste products from the fat around our intestines are one possible reason why abdominal obesity is more harmful to our health than obesity on the thighs and buttocks, for example, as Peter Arner and his team have shown. Another reason could be that fatty acids from the central fat can travel directly into the liver and affect blood lipids and sugar metabolism.

Waist measurement is in fact more strongly associated with insulin sensitivity than blood lipids, blood pressure or body weight, as Peter Arner has shown in another study. A waist measurement of less than 100 cm entails almost no risk of insulin resistance, whereas the risk increases strongly with greater abdominal obesity.

"People who carry a small amount of excess weight around the abdomen but are otherwise slim have a particular problem. They cannot diet, because they become too thin. We could do with a way to influence only the central fat", says Peter Ar
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Contact: Peter Arner
peter.arner@ki.se
46-705-798-121
Lund University
Source:Eurekalert

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