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Harvard researchers find genetic risk for obesity can be modified

The genetic risk for obesity in people that have a genetic predisposition toward obesity can be modified by a change in diet according to new research conducted by Lu Qi, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, that was published in the March 18, 2014, edition of the British Medical Journal.

Paula Deen attends Bank of America Lifestyle Seminar Fried & True: A Fried Chicken Seminar during the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival at Ritz Carlton South Beach on February 23, 2014, in Miami Beach, Florida.
Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Food Network SoBe Wine & Food Festival

The research is based on the responses to questionnaires about the frequency of the type of food consumed by 9,623 women in the Nurses' Health Study, 6,379 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and 21,426 women in the Women's Genome Health Study.

The researchers focused on the correlation between the consumption of fried foods and the incidence of obesity in the study populations.

The researchers found that a genetic predisposition toward obesity may be accelerated by consuming more than four portions of fried food each week and that a genetic predisposition toward obesity may be altered by eating excessive amounts of fried foods.

"Our findings indicate that genetic risk of obesity could be mitigated by simply changing an eating habit." according to Hu.

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