Published March 1, 2005 - More info
Nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in children has doubled in the past 25 years. Better knowledge of the genetics of obesity combined with adherence to healthier dietary rules can equip Americans with what is needed to fight this trend. J. Phan and K. Reue now report that lipin is another gene involved in determining a person's susceptibility to weight gain (1). Mice with higher levels of lipin gain twice as much weight as do normal mice when both are fed a diet high in fat. But people cannot put all the blame on their genes alone. Accordingly, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson announced on January 12, 2005, that the US Department of Agriculture's food pyramid has been redesigned. Americans are now encouraged to consume more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and less fat, calories, and sodium. The new guidelines also call for exercise and emphasize weight management. Research examining eating behaviors and fat storage are still in their infancy but are already proving to be extraordinarily complex processes. Getting people to stick to the new food guidelines may turn out to be less successful.