Home / Science / Health /  Obesity can be more than 1 type: Scientists on symptoms and subtypes
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BMI or body mass index, which determine whether one is fit, fat or obese, isn't really a reliable marker of health outcomes. A new study reveals some obese people may never receive a disease diagnosis, while others in the “normal" BMI range could have a genetic predisposition to heart disease and other illnesses. 

“It has long been clear to us that there are at least three types of people when it comes to obesity: Those who are healthy and obese, those who are obese and have co-morbidities, such as diabetes or heart disease, and those who are obese and on their way to developing co-morbidities," said Andrew Pospisilik, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Epigenetics. 

“We wanted to see if we could begin to identify the genetic variations in these different ‘types’ of obesity."

For this, Pospisilik and his team studied twins and how their weight changed over years. They conducted same study on mice. 

“Using a purely data-driven approach, we saw for the first time that there are at least two different metabolic subtypes of obesity, each with their own physiological and molecular features that influence health," Pospisilik said. “Our findings in the lab almost carbon copied the human twin data. We again saw two distinct subtypes of obesity."

As per a study, published this month in Nature Metabolism, there are four metabolic subtypes (two prone to leanness and two prone to obesity) that may one day help doctors provide more precise care for patients and inform more precise ways to diagnose and treat obesity and associated metabolic disorder

The team also found that of the two metabolic subtypes prone to obesity, one was associated with increased inflammation, which can elevate the risk of certain cancers and other diseases, while the other wasn’t. It also appeared that some genes responded to certain triggers—such as lifestyle choices or specific foods—leading to weight gain and a susceptibility to disease, while others did not.

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