Highlights from the ongoing debate over the factors underlying the epidemic on pace to see 42% of Americans obese within the next 20 years.joe_13/Flickr
In a head-to-head piece published yesterday in the British Medical Journal, Timothy Frayling, a professor of human genetics at the University of Exeter, argues that genetics outweigh (ahem) environmental factors as we look at causes of obesity. He cites research that has found adiposity between twins is concordant in up to 70 percent of cases. An obesity-related gene has also been identified; people with two copies of the so-called FTO gene are generally heavier compared to those without the gene variant. Moreover -- and not surprisingly -- sedentary people with the obesity-linked gene tended to be heavier than those with the gene who were physically active. Frayling concludes that our DNA may actually be far more responsible for human obesity than our surroundings.