Scientists find different types of obesity, confirming high BMI doesn’t always indicate health risks

Photo Credit: RyanJellen - Getty Images

Photo Credit: RyanJellen – Getty Images

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  • According to a new study published in nature metabolismObesity is not simply a matter of weight in relation to height or body mass index (BMI) – there are in fact at least four metabolic body types.

  • The research also found that people who fit the BMI category of overweight or obese are not destined to develop diseases that were previously thought to be directly related to weight.

For decades, a reckoning, body mass index (BMI) has been used to determine whether a person is overweight or obese. BMI compares weight in relation to height and when this number is high, doctors will probably tell patients that they are at risk of health problems and, therefore, need to lose weight.

However, it turns out that this is not a reliable marker of the equation. health outcomes, Some people who fit into the “obese” category according to BMI may never receive a diagnosis, while others in the “normal” BMI category may have a genetic predisposition. heart disease and other diseases, regardless of their weight.

“It has long been clear to us that there are at least three types of people in terms of obesity: those who are healthy and obese, those who are obese and those with co-morbidities, such as: diabetes either heart diseaseand those who are obese and on their way to develop co-morbidities,” said Andrew Pospisilik, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Epigenetics and founding member of the Metabolic and Nutrition Programming Group. Van Andel Institute In Grand Rapids, Michigan states bicycling, “We wanted to see if we could begin to identify genetic variations in these different ‘types’ of obesity.”

To investigate the types of obesity, Pospisilik and his team studied twins and the ways in which their weight varied over the years. Then, they tried to mimic their findings in mice.

“Using a completely data-driven approach, we observed for the first time that there are at least two distinct metabolic subtypes of obesity, each with its own physiological and molecular characteristics that affect health,” Pospisilik said. . “Our findings in the laboratory almost carbonically mimicked human twin data. We again saw two distinct subtypes of obesity.”

Until now, scientists had placed people in one of three metabolism Types: Endomorph (accumulating fat easily), mesomorph (easily gaining muscle), and ectomorph (skinny, struggling to gain fat or muscle). Recent findings, however, published this month in nature metabolismDivides people into four metabolic subtypes (two are lean and two are obese) that may one day help doctors provide more accurate care for patients and to diagnose and treat obesity and related metabolic disorders More precise methods can tell, Pospisilik explained.

The team also found that obesity was associated with an increased risk of one of two metabolic subtypes. inflammationwhich can increase the risk of certain cancer and other diseases, while the other did not. It also appeared that some genes responded to certain triggers – such as lifestyle choices or specific foods – leading to weight gain and disease predisposition, while others did not.

The science of studying how genes are affected by behavior and the environment is called epigenetics. Pospisilik, an epigeneticist, does not study, for example, which foods or lifestyle choices can change a person’s weight, but instead looks for genetic predispositions that coordinate with weight and how it affects disease. How to play

Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change the DNA sequence. “I like to tell people that all bees are born with the same DNA, but some bees become worker bees and others become queen bees. In the end, all queen bees are genetically identical to other queen bees. How does this happen? Epigenetics are processes that can guide the same bee DNA to develop as a queen or worker, but nothing in between,” Pospisilk said.

Pospisilk and his team found that the same idea applies to humans and their weight and health. Whereas a person is more prone to muscle buildingothers may be at higher risk of weight gain, and their DIET can be very similar.

“Between twin studies and mice studies, we can show exactly how each individual may have multiple genetically pre-programmed pathways available with lifelong consequences,” explained Pospisilk.

Finally, new research confirms that there is more to health and fitness than the number on the scale or BMI chart.

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