Alcoholism Gene Linked To Obesity

Alcoholism is a disease that can be passed down through generations, but new research shows that it may also increase the odds of developing other negative health risks. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis recently determined that the same gene that heightens the chances of alcoholism puts individuals at risk of obesity as well.

Men and women who were studied in 2002 showed a higher chance of developing alcoholism and obesity than those who were examined in 1992, according to PhysOrg, a science and health news site. However, study author Richard Grucza notes that the increased risk is most likely due to environmental factors. Although genes play a role in how susceptible an individual is to developing alcoholism, changes in the environment can be influential as well.

The obesity rate in the U.S. reached 33 percent in 2004. This is more than double the amount recorded in the 1970s, which hovered around 15 percent. Individuals who are obese have a higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

More than 52 percent of the adult population were considered regular drinkers in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Consuming large amounts of alcohol can result in dependency and negative health effects over time.