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Study Locates More Obesity Genes

SUNDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- New gene locations linked to obesity have been pinpointed in a large study by an international team of researchers.

The team examined data from more than 260,000 people and identified seven new gene locations tied to overweight and obesity, and four new gene locations associated with height.

In addition, most of the gene locations previously linked to various body measurements were confirmed in the study published online April 7 in the journal Nature Genetics.

The study authors said they also showed that the genetic mechanisms that cause extreme obesity are similar to those that cause milder forms of overweight and obesity.

"We know from experience that genetic factors are important for the emergence of both milder and more extreme forms of obesity, but how much overlap there is between genes that are involved in extreme obesity and normal or slightly elevated BMI [a measure of body fat] has not been examined systematically previously," study coordinator Erik Ingelsson, a professor at Uppsala University in Sweden, said in a university news release.

He added that the results "suggest that extremely obese individuals have a greater number of gene variants that increase the risk of obesity, rather than completely different genes being involved. In the long term, our findings may lead to new ways of preventing and treating obesity, which is one of the greatest global public health problems of our age."

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about overweight and obesity.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Uppsala University, news release, April 7, 2013

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