How's this for inspiring weight loss news? The "obesity gene" doesn't prevent successful weight loss, according to a new study.

By Julia Malacoff
Updated: September 23, 2016

Struggling with weight loss? It's understandable why you'd blame a genetic predisposition to being heavier, especially if your parents or other family members are overweight. But according to a new study published in The BMJ, your genes don't actually make it harder for you to drop pounds.

First off, it's been proven that some people do have a specific gene linked to obesity. The "obesity gene" is also known as the "FTO gene," and those who have it are 70 percent more likely to become obese during their lifetime than those without it, according to University College London. They also weigh more on average than people who don't have the gene.

But this research sought to confirm or disprove the idea that it's also harder for these people to lose weight. So researchers from Newcastle University compiled data from almost ten thousand subjects of previous studies, both with and without the obesity gene. Turns out, there was no correlation between having the gene and having a harder time losing weight.

In light of the global obesity problem, there's been discussion in the medical community about testing obese people for the gene in order to aid them in creating a weight loss plan. The authors of the study note, however, that the "results suggest that screening for the FTO genotype in routine clinical work would not predict weight loss success. Future public health strategies for the management of obesity should aim to induce long-term improvements in lifestyle behaviors, principally eating patterns and physical activity, since these will be effective in achieving sustained weight loss irrespective of FTO genotype."

In other words, those with the FTO gene are more likely to become obese than those without it, but they don't face any additional difficulty when it comes to losing excess weight, whether or not it was caused by the gene's presence. "You can no longer blame your genes," said John Mathers, Professor of Human Nutrition at Newcastle University, in a press release. "Our study shows that improving your diet and being more physically active will help you lose weight, regardless of your genetic makeup."

This is good news for those with the FTO gene; traditional weight loss methods can be effective for everyone, regardless of their genetic makeup. Now get out there and get healthy! We suggest starting with our 30-day weight loss challenge and the 10 rules of weight loss that last. You've got this.


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