Three presentations over the weekend at Digestive Disease Week 2018, in Washington, DC, tackled the issue of why some people with obesity develop often life-threatening complications and others do not. Taken together, results of three studies presented during the session titled "Apples and Pears: Understanding the Origins of Obesity Phenotypes" suggest that lifestyle and biology contribute inextricably to obesity but that biology should not be ignored.
First, the Questions. Why do some people with obesity develop complications while others don't? Beyond environment and lifestyle, what other factors underlie obesity? And do different expressions of these factors translate into different risks for obesity-related complications?
Yes, it All Starts with Mom. Jed Friedman, PhD from the University of Colorado reviewed recent research about developmental programming and nutrition in the womb and found that the first 1000 days of life are critical for determining later health as the fetus is uniquely vulnerable to excess glucose, lipids, and inflammation.
For more information: Friedman F. Mechanisms of maternal insulin resistance in determining offspring adiposity. Poster presented at: Digestive Disease Week; June 2018; Washington, D.C.
Genetics May Fine-tune Care. Elizabeth Speliotes, MD, PhD from the University of Michigan spoke about her research that found while some genes for NAFLD can increase the risk for some diseases, they can also decrease the risk for others. For example, the PP1R3B gene that is involved in glycogen breakdown, is linked to an increased risk for NAFLD and a decreased risk for DM.
For more information: Speliotes E. Genetic determinants of body fat distribution. Poster presented at Digestive Disease Week; June 2018; Washington D.C.
Dietary Fructose, Again. Miriam Vos, MD, MSPH from Emory University reviewed research about dietary fructose, NAFLD, and body composition and found that the main cause of weight gain is overeating and lack of exercise. Vos also found research that linked high fructose beverages to increased triglycerides in children with NAFLD and increased visceral fat.
For more information: Vos M. Dietary fructose, NAFLD and body composition. Poster presented at: Digestive Disease Week; June 2018; Washington, D.C.