Family History May Play a Role in Risk for Obesity

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A sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet are largely cited as culprits in the ever-increasing numbers of overweight and obese Americans. However, scientists are getting closer to identifying a gene variant that may leave some people more susceptible to obesity. Identification of this gene early in life may help to prevent the onset of significant weight gain and clinical obesity through preventive measures.

A sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet are largely cited as culprits in the ever-increasing numbers of overweight and obese Americans. However, scientists are getting closer to identifying a gene variant that may leave some people more susceptible to obesity. Identification of this gene early in life may help to prevent the onset of significant weight gain and clinical obesity through preventive measures.

In obese or severely overweight individuals, doctors have long suspected that genetics, in addition to inactivity and poor nutrition, are to blame. To what degree, however, heredity plays a part in weight gain is still unknown. Recognition of an obesity-causing gene, once medically identified, is by no means a quick fix or a way to completely prevent obesity.

“As a physician, I have long-known that a family history of obesity is a definite indicator that a person may become severely overweight or clinically obese,” said Eugene Rumsey, M.D., F.A.C.S., surgeon at Pacific Bariatric Surgical Medical Group, Inc. (http://www.pbsmg.com) and Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego. “This is true for many other dangerous diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and we must approach the treatment of obesity with the same tenacity.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 64 percent of all U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Morbid obesity is closely correlated with a number of serious conditions that severely undermines the health of overweight patients, including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Divided gastric bypass surgery is widely accepted as the most effective surgical weight-loss treatment available and is considered the gold standard to alleviate severe obesity.

Surgeons at Pacific Bariatric Surgical Medical Group, Inc. have performed over 9,000 procedures on adult and adolescent patients at Scripps Mercy Hospital. As a result of outstanding aftercare programs and support groups, patients at Pacific Bariatric and Scripps Mercy Hospital see a slightly higher success rate than the national average.

Pacific Bariatric Surgical Medical Group, Inc. and Scripps Mercy Hospital are nationally designated by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery as a Center of Excellence for bariatric surgery. Pacific Bariatric Surgical Medical Group, also known as Hillcrest Surgical Medical Group, Inc., has an 80-year tradition of surgical excellence and leadership in San Diego County. Scripps Mercy Hospital has been a health care leader in San Diego County for more than 115 years, offering patients an unparalleled continuum of care. For more information, visit http://www.pbsmg.com.

Established in 1890 by the Sisters of Mercy, Scripps Mercy Hospital serves the San Diego and Chula Vista communities. With 700 licensed beds, more than 3,000 employees and 1,300 physicians, Scripps Mercy Hospital is San Diego’s longest established and only Catholic medical center. With two campuses, Scripps Mercy Hospital is the largest hospital in San Diego County and one of the 10 largest in California. For more information, visit http://www.scripps.org.

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