Binge eating is in the genes: Study

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22 July 2015

Researchers claim to have identified a genetic flaw, which allegedly prompts overeating, and making people put on weight and end up as  dangerously obese.

According to scientists the "binge eating" gene could be responsible for making people gorge huge amounts of unhealthy food.

Diet experts have identified a genetic fault, which made 20-per cent more likely to consume vast amounts of calorific food.

Women faced an added risk from the greedy gene, as they had a 30-per cent higher chance of ending up as a binge eater.

Dr Nadia Micali, from University College London's Institute of Child Health, studied data from 6,000 children and teenagers in a bid to see whether there existed a piece of human DNA associated with obesity.

She identified a problem in part of the gene called the FTO locus. People who possesses this gene were more likely to overeat.

"This research offers an important first step towards understanding the genetic risk for binge eating and will help inform how we develop strategies to counter the obesity crisis," Dr Micali said.

''We now know variations in the FTO gene can predict binge eating in teenagers, and binge eating in turn can predict obesity. Eventually this finding could allow us to develop more targeted treatment for binge eating, and enable much earlier intervention so young people don't develop obesity.''

According to estimates one in 10 people could be prone to binge eating.

"This research offers an important first step towards understanding the genetic risk for binge eating and will help inform how we develop strategies to counter the obesity crisis," Micali said.

"This finding could allow us to develop more targeted treatment for binge eating, and enable much earlier intervention so young people don't develop obesity."

The UCL team studied data from 6,000 14-to-16-year-old participants in the University of Bristol's Children of the '90s study.

 





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