Obesity: It’s all from your brain, according to DNA research,

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It’s findings will be welcomed by the millions of us who have struggled to lose weight despite sticking rigidly to calorie-controlled diets; Dr Tamas Horvath, of Yale University School of Medicine in the U.S., said: ‘It appears that the wiring of the brain is a determinant of one’s vulnerability to develop obesity.

‘These observations add to the argument that it is less about personal will that makes a difference in becoming obese, and, it is more related to the connections that emerge in our brain during development.’

Britain, like most Western countries, is in the grips of an obesity epidemic with the number of fat people rising sharply since the 1960s.

Dr Horvath and colleagues studied a group of laboratory rats bred to be vulnerable to obesity.

They found that these naturally greedy animals were born with a major difference in the ‘feeding centre of the brain’.

Its findings will be welcomed by the millions of us who have struggled to lose weight despite sticking rigidly to calorie-controlled diets.

Dr Tamas Horvath, of Yale University School of Medicine in the U.S., said: ‘It appears that this wiring of the brain is a determinant of one’s vulnerability to develop obesity.

‘These observations add to the argument that it is less about personal will that makes a difference in becoming obese, and, it is more related to the connections that emerge in our brain during development.’

Britain, like most Western countries, is in the grips of an obesity epidemic with the number of fat people rising sharply since the 1960s.

Dr Horvath and colleagues studied a group of laboratory rats bred to be vulnerable to obesity.

They found that these naturally greedy animals were born with a major difference in the ‘feeding centre of the brain’.

Neurons in the brain that are supposed to signal when enough has been eaten and when the body needs to burn off calories are far more sluggish in obese rats because they are inhibited by other cells, the researchers report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

However, in animals resistant to obesity, these same neurons are far more active – and quickly tell the rest of the brain and the body when enough food has been consumed.

The way the brain develops and whether it is vulnerable to obesity is influenced by genes and conditions in the womb, the researchers say.

Dr Horvath added: ‘Those who are vulnerable to diet-induced obesity also develop a brain inflammation, while those who are resistant, do not.

‘This emerging inflammatory response in the brain may also explain why those who once developed obesity have a harder time losing weight.’

In 1980, six per cent of men and eight per cent of women in Britain were obese.

Twenty years later, 22 per cent of men and 23 per cent of women are obese.

At least 20million people in this country are thought to be overweight, while 12million are clinically obese.

If the trends continue, one third of adults and half of all children will be obese by 2020.

Diet experts say the explanation for the wave of obesity is simple – that in an age of labour- saving devices and home entertainment, most people are doing too little exercise.

At the same time, high-fat, high-sugar foods are more widely available.

The new finding doesn’t explain why obesity is on the rise – but sheds light on why some people struggle to lose the extra pounds they get from a sedentary lifestyle.