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Introduction 

Introduction
Chapter:
Introduction
Author(s):

Philip L. Beales

and I. Sadaf Farooqi

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780195300161.003.0001
Page of

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date: 22 April 2021

Never before in history has there been such an abundance of energy-rich, highly processed foodstuffs. However, the price of progress is beginning to be felt among more Westernized populations with seemingly inexorable rises in the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This so-called nutrition transition combined with increasingly sedentary lifestyles is promoting an obesogenic environment, which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is now the greatest risk factor for ill health worldwide. This chapter provides a brief introduction to obesity and obesity-related morbidity before summarizing some of the common terms in use throughout the field of genetics that shall be encountered in subsequent chapters. Inheritance patterns are described and an overview of the genetics of obesity is provided, before finally polygenic obesity gene identification is discussed.

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