From genetics and epigenetics to the future of precision treatment for obesity

Gastroenterol Rep (Oxf). 2017 Nov;5(4):266-270. doi: 10.1093/gastro/gox033. Epub 2017 Oct 24.


Obesity has become a major global health problem, epitomized by excess accumulation of body fat resulting from an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure. The treatments for obesity range from modified nutrition and additional physical activity, to drugs or surgery. But the curative effect of each method seems to vary between individuals. With progress in the genetics and epigenetics of obesity, personalization of the clinical management of obesity may be at our doorstep. This review presents an overview of our current understanding of the genetics and epigenetics of obesity and how these findings influence responses to treatments. As bariatric surgery is the most effective long-term treatment for morbid obesity, we pay special attention to the association between genetic factors and clinical outcomes of bariatric surgery. Finally, we discuss the prospects for precision obesity treatment.

Keywords: bariatric surgery; epigenetics; genetics; morbid obesity.

Publication types

  • Review