The Real Life Theory of ‘Fat and Jolly’

By: Dr. Alwyn Wong | Brain Function | Friday, January 04, 2013 - 09:21 AM

good healthYou have likely heard the term, whether it be for the holidays or for someone you know: Fat and jolly. While it might be slightly oversimplifying the idea, it turns out that new research is showing that there is a variation of this theory, and science could have begun to find out more information about it.

As it turns out, the research that was released recently show that people who are fat, could possibly carry a gene that has an effect on depression.  Follow up information has been quick to mention that this tie could be a reach, and lifestyle factors which impact whether or not a person is fat, is a much more accurate tie to depression, rather than the potential for a “fat gene”. It is for this reason that the idea of being “fat and jolly” isn’t universally accepted, at least not so far.

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The research has proven to be very extensive, but of the multitude of facts given, the main point, when you boil it down, is that there could be a potential association between body mass index (BMI), depression, and a specific genetic variant in the genes called “FTO”.

This gene has been linked to obesity and fat for some time, this prompted researchers and scientists to take a closer look to see if the FTO gene, or variants of the gene could mean something for depression, or have some kind of link back to it.

The Study – Complicated Research on Fat and Depression Link

What the researchers did was take a look at the FTO gene and examined whether or not it appeared to protect against depression. They looked at the results of many different groups of people, some with a high BMI and some with normal and low BMI. The simplified research was meant to determine whether or not a person with depression was also more likely to be fat, but also if a fat person was more likely to suffer from depression.  They looked at the risks of being diagnosed with mental health issues, and whether or not the depressed patients were considered clinically depressed, or experiencing a simple “low mood” due to their issues with their weight.

The Depression, Fat Gene Study – What it Came Up With

The findings were worthy of a mention. The study showed that the increase in risk of developing depression was small, but still made the scale. The researched showed an 8 percent greater risk for each copy of the gene variety. However, what is not clear, and what requires further research is that it isn’t available whether all people who fall into the overweight category have this specific gene.

When it comes to depression, while this information might be worthy of some further examination, most medical practitioners, say that there is a whole other area that implies depression in a much more scientifically accurate fashion. They say the gene on its own is highly unlikely to conclude that being overweight and depressed are linked. However, lifestyle factors such as physical activity levels and overall lifestyle choices are a more clear indicator of the potential for depression.

However, discovering a gene is linked to a condition such as depression, which may have complex underlying causes, does not necessarily mean it is an important factor in causing the disease. This only means that there is an association between the two, not a direct cause and effect relationship.

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