March 27, 2018 – Bugs and Fat


Anchor lead: Bacteria living in our guts may influence the development of obesity, Elizabeth Tracey reports

We’ve all seen families where one child is overweight or obese but other children aren’t, yet they eat the same diet and live in the same environment. Now research by David Hackam, director of pediatric surgery at Johns Hopkins, points to an interaction between genes and gut bacteria that may the culprit.

Hackam: This study advises us that it isn’t simply the components of the diet, it’s the interaction between the diet and our genes, and our bacteria that live in our body. It may well be that different diets all can cause obesity in the person that is predisposed to becoming obese. That actually is a little bit helpful to families because it’s not all their fault. :27

Hackam says those with certain genes can be colonized with bacteria that are more efficient, making too many nutrients available for the host and leading to weight gain, He says increased vigilance regarding diet may be needed to compensate. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.