Weight gain in men and women is predicted by two different genetic variations
- so-called polymorphisms, according to a new study from the Netherlands.
Men with a certain mutation of the FTO gene had an 87% greater risk for
gaining weight over 10 years. Meanwhile, women with a different variation on the
MMP2 gene had a two and a half times increased risk for weight gain over the
course of a decade, the researchers found.
The research involved two groups of people: The first group, which consisted
of 259 people, maintained a stable weight; the second group consisted of 237
people who were considered weight gainers. These participants gained about 17
pounds over 10 years.
Starting body-mass index - a measurement of body fat based on a person's
ratio of height to weight - for the participants ranged from normal to obese.
Participants were between 20 and 45 years old when the study began.
How the research was done
The research, led by Freek Bouwman, from Maastricht University, and Dr
Jolanda Boer, from the Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health and the
Environment, focused on several different polymorphisms associated with weight
gain in previous studies.
The genetic distribution of a particular FTO polymorphism in men was
consistently different between the weight-stable group and the weigh-gainer
group, the study revealed, according to a news release from the European
Congress on Obesity.
Similarly, among the women, the genetic distribution of the MMP2 polymorphism
varied between those considered weight stable and those in the weight-gainer
"We found that FTO in men and MMP2 in women are predictors for weight gain
over a 10-year follow-up period," the study authors wrote.
They suggested that more research into these polymorphisms could help
determine who is at greatest risk for weight gain and improve weight-control
strategies. They said differences in male and female hormone levels also could
play a role in weight regulation.
The US National Library of Medicine provides more information on polymorphisms.