According to the World Health Organisation, global obesity rates have doubled since 1980 with at least 2,8million adults dying each year as a result of being either overweight or obese.
The growing incidence of obesity is a global phenomenon with First World Countries such as the US also struggling to win the fight against the bulge.
In fact, a recent study released by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) predicts that, by 2030, 13 US states will have an adult obesity rate of more than 60%. 39 States could have rates above 50% and all 50 states could have rates above 44%.
“Global, and local, obesity rates continue to soar year on year, suggesting that we need to critically assess our approach of managing the disease and reduce its incidence successfully and sustainably.
Traditionally, diet and exercise strategies have been used as the sole solution to reduce and manage weight.
However, a substantial body of evidence is finding that our response to any weight loss regime is largely governed by our unique genetic makeup, explaining the substantial variability in how we respond to weight-loss interventions,” says Yael Joffe, dietician and nutrigenomics expert for DNAlysis Biotechnology, a local molecular technology firm.
According to Joffe, our DNA impacts all molecular processes involved in the regulation of energy expenditure, appetite, cholesterol metabolism, fat burning and thermogenesis to name a few examples.
“Each of these molecular processes play a significantly important role in weight regulation. In fact, research estimates that 40% to 80% of the variance in body weight is due to genetic factors that a DNA test should form an integral part of any obesity management regime.”
Recent advancements in the Human Genome Project has enabled scientists to unlock the secrets to weight loss contained in our genes and poses huge potential in addressing the global burden of obesity.
“Genetics explain why no single solution will work equally well for everyone and that a one-size-fits-all plan for shedding the kilos has become irrelevant. Sadly, despite substantial evidence of the genetic basis of obesity, these components are almost entirely ignored in most intervention or prevention programmes,” says Joffe.
“We have been so successful in fact, that South Africa now has what is probably one of the largest networks of healthcare practitioners in the world that are qualified to interpret DNA tests and provide suitable diet, exercise and healthcare regimes for clients,” says Joffe.
The company’s own DNA Diet product, which identifies eight genes involved in weight-management has been equally well received by local consumers.
The results provide gene-based recommendations that include dietary changes and guidance as to the type and amount of exercise required to achieve optimum weight-loss results.
“While the field of genomics is in its infancy, the advances we have made based on available research has allowed us to take a quantum leap forward. Understanding how genetic information, used in context, will improve the effectiveness of diet and exercise recommendations for weight loss poses massive potential in the global fight against obesity,” Joffe concludes.
For more information on DNAlysis Biotechnology, its various products as well as its healthcare practitioner training programme, call (011) 268 0268 or visit www.dnalysis.co.za and our our Twitter and Facebook pages.