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Doctors may soon give babies an obesity risk score thanks to a newly-developed inexpensive genetic test.
About two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and scientists have long known that both DNA and lifestyle determine who will reach an unhealthy weight.
Researchers - Harvard - University - Broad - Institute
Now, researchers at Harvard University and the Broad Institute have identified genetic markers detectable using a $50 DNA test that can help doctors predict who obesity with unprecedented accuracy.
The test can't provide complete certainty, but the 2.1 million genetic variants it uses could give families an early warning that their children need to stay active and eat well to minimize their inherited obesity risks.
Study - Authors - Test - Conditions - Heart
And the study authors say a similar test may someday predict other complex conditions like heart disease, too.
Since the 1970s, rates of childhood obesity have tripled in the US, and 80 percent of overweight children will grow up to be obese adults.
BMI - Childhood - Indicator - Struggles - Weight
High BMI in childhood is a solid indicator of struggles with weight in adulthood, but there are overweight and obese adults who remained healthy weights throughout adolescence.
And, often, by the time a child first becomes overweight or obese, lifestyle factors that fuel weight gain are already habituated.
Research - Someone - Predisposition - Obesity - Diet
Previous research has shown that if someone has a genetic predisposition for obesity, being inactive or poor diet will have even more significant effects on their weight gain that these bad habits would have on people without obesity genes.
So the earlier someone can be identified as high-risk the better.
Certainty - Genes - Obesity
Since 2006, we've known with reasonable certainty that at least 50 genes are linked to obesity.
However, that hasn't been enough to develop a practical standard test worth using to screen for obesity.
Test - Harvard - Broad - Research - Team
To design their new test, the Harvard and Broad research team gathered information on two million gene variants through...
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