Can Genetic Testing Improve Weight Loss Efforts?
From - Diagnostic Testing & Emerging Technologies Experts say the next big advance in achieving a healthier weight will be to use an individual's genetic data to customize diets and… . . . read more
Experts say the next big advance in achieving a healthier weight will be to use an individual’s genetic data to customize diets and physical activity plans. According to a review published by a National Institutes of Health working group in the January issue of Obesity, the biggest challenge to realizing “precision weight loss” is the need for better analytical tools to uncover the relationships between genetics, behavior, and intentional change in weight.
“I think within five years, we’ll see people start to use a combination of genetic, behavioral, and other sophisticated data to develop individualized weight management plans,” said work group lead Molly Bray, Ph.D., a geneticist and professor of nutritional sciences at University of Texas, Austin, in a statement. Bray envisions that in the future, it will be possible for patients to submit saliva samples for gene sequencing, in combination with wearables to collect information about the patients’ environment, diet, activity, and stress. A computer algorithm could then take this information and provide patients with specific recommendations to achieve their target weight. The review grew out of a workshop convened by the NIH back in 2014 titled “Genes, Behaviors, and Response to Weight Loss Interventions.” It identifies both what is genetically known about obesity and body size, as well as needed future directions for research. For further discussion of this review, see “Genetic-Driven Dieting May Drive Weight Loss in the Future,” in the January 2016 issue of Diagnostic Testing & Emerging Technologies.
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