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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: Sharing Genetic Risk Information May Help Motivate Weight Loss

Providing personalized genetic risk information about obesity may help to motivate people to lose weight, depending on how it is presented, according to a new study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher.

The study, published in the journal Obesity, found that people who were given information about their genetic risk had greater intentions to lose weight than those who received no information, those who received only lifestyle risk information, or those who received both genetic and lifestyle risk information.

“Provision of genetic information was more effective at influencing weight loss intentions, particularly when presented alone and not in combination with lifestyle risk,” the study says. It found that the genetic information was of particular benefit to healthy weight individuals, rather than those who were overweight or obese.

“Our results support the findings from other obesity studies indicating no such adverse outcomes from conveying genetic risk information,” said lead author Dr. Catharine Wang, associate professor of community health sciences. Instead, she said, conveying genetic information “may enhance the success rate of lifestyle interventions and provide additional motivation to help individuals plan for healthy weight maintenance.”

To read more about the study, go to: