Can your DNA hold the secret to losing weight?


Many Americans are struggling with extra weight. 

“Anywhere from 25 to 35% of Americans now are overweight, or obese,” said Jennifer Franceschelli Hosterman, Physician. 

Which is why ads like this can be intriguing. Could a swab of the cheek unlock what you should eat, and how your body responds to exercise based on your DNA?

“I have friends that have done it. I have patients that have come to me and brought the information,” said Franceschelli Hosterman. “They give you a lot of data which is great, but they don’t necessarily explain a lot of that data.”

For example, what if you are carrying an obesity gene?

“The problem is it has a very low effect side. We may have 20 obesity genes they may account for half of pound of added weight,” said Christopher Still, Director of Geisinger Obesity Institute.  

There are very few genes that are the sole cause of severe obesity. 

“There’s many different reasons. There’s medication that we take that can cause weight gain there’re metabolic reasons there’s environmental, behavioral,” said Still. “There are many different factors and genetics can just be one small part.”

So, if you do decide to swab, be careful where you click. 

“I have found that some of these sites are a little bit better than others in terms of helping the patient through the test results,” said Franceschelli Hosterman. “If reading this makes them more mindful of what they are eating and drinking, I think that’s ok. I think if they have a complicated medical history they are taking a lot of medications, I think it really needs to be done in conjunction with seeing their doctor, seeing their physician, and talking about it.”

As always, read the fine print. Some say the findings are in its infancy and may help your risk. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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