An international group of scientists solved the mystery of a genetic flaw which greatly increases the risk of obesity in one in six people. A version of an obesity gene, called FTO, had been linked to a bigger belly, but the reason why was uncertain.
The FTO mutations were probably life-saving at one point in human history when piling on the pounds in the summer would help people survive the winter.
There is a strong family link with obesity, and a person's genetic code is thought to play a major role in the risk of them becoming overweight. Also, the tendency to overeat in a society with too much food and no need for exercise is inherited.
By discovering the factors which make people overweight, and also changes in the brain, scientists have made an important step forward. One giant leap for all those suffering snide remarks and the pain of rejection amongst their peers. And the knowledge that they are suffering from a physical condition like many others—diabetes, osteoporosis or lack of thyroxin.