Journal scan

Genetic predisposition to obesity no barrier to weight management

The benefits of following a healthy diet to prevent long-term weight gain are greater in people with a high genetic risk of obesity, a study shows

The benefits of following a healthy diet to prevent long-term weight gain are greater in people with a high genetic risk of obesity, a study shows.

Researchers analysed data from 1986-2006 for US health professionals, comprising 8,828 women and 5,218 men.

The team from Tulane University in New Orleans and Harvard University aimed to see if a healthy diet would diminish genetic association with weight gain.

A genetic risk score was calculated using 77 gene variants associated with body mass index, with changes in BMI and weight calculated every four years.

Changes in dietary patterns were also assessed using three diet quality scores the alternative healthy eating index 2010, the dietary approach to stop hypertension, and the alternative Mediterranean diet.

Observational study

The three diets are rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grains, and low in

...

Picture: iStock

The benefits of following a healthy diet to prevent long-term weight gain are greater in people with a high genetic risk of obesity, a study shows.

Researchers analysed data from 1986-2006 for US health professionals, comprising 8,828 women and 5,218 men.

The team from Tulane University in New Orleans and Harvard University aimed to see if a healthy diet would diminish genetic association with weight gain.

A genetic risk score was calculated using 77 gene variants associated with body mass index, with changes in BMI and weight calculated every four years.

Changes in dietary patterns were also assessed using three diet quality scores – the alternative healthy eating index 2010, the dietary approach to stop hypertension, and the alternative Mediterranean diet.

Observational study

The three diets are rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grains, and low in salt, sugary drinks, alcohol and red and processed meats.

After 20 years, researchers found adherence to the first two diets was associated with decreases in BMI and weight.

The effects were more pronounced in people with a high genetic risk of obesity.

The authors say the study was observational and did not measure physical activity, but provides evidence that a genetic predisposition is ‘no barrier to successful weight management’.

They say: ‘Governments and populations must act to ensure universal healthy diets within health-promoting food environments and food systems.’


Wang T et al (2017) Improving adherence to healthy dietary patterns, genetic risk, and long term weight gain: gene-diet interaction analysis in two prospective cohort studies. BMJ. doi: BMJ 2018;360:j5644

 

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs