Obesity Alters Gut Microbial Ecology Essay

Obesity Alters Gut Microbial Ecology Essay

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A common theme among the concerns of today’s American citizens is that of obesity. Obesity, identifiable by abnormal fat accumulation, can be defined in absolute terms by one who has a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30. It is estimated that over 30 percent of American adults are clinically obese. This number has shown a dramatic increase from the 15 percent of American adults suffering from obesity in 1980. Globally, 400 million adults are obese, while predictions place this number at 700 million by 2015. The major issue confronting this adiposity is the health conditions that accompany states of extreme obesity. These include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis among others. The escalating number of obese and the health effects connected to this condition have resulted in increased research and attention to the study of obesity.

It is the common belief that the cause of obesity is solely due to an excessive consumption of food. However, recent studies have made a correlation between obesity and the diversity of microbiota in the gut. One project of focus (“Obesity alters gut microbial ecology”) measured the proportions of gut microbes in mice populations and hypothesized a relationship between this bacterial number and body mass.

The significance of this field of study is vital to the issue of obesity. First, such a discovery would falsify the stereotype that obesity is exclusively a result of a disproportionate intake of calories. Instead, it would show that this condition is a genetic trait which maintains an acute relationship with the composition of microbes in the gut. More importantly, if the exact association between obesity and gut microbes can be discovered, it may be possible to alter or...

... middle of paper ...

...05. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 21 Oct 2007. .
* "Obesity." Wikipedia. 14 Nov 2007. .
* "Obesity and Overweight." Media Centre. Sept 2006. World Health Organization. 1 Nov 2007. .
* "Overweight and Obesity." Diseases and Conditions Index. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. 1 Nov 2007. .
* Smith, Christopher M. "DNA Sequence and Structural Analysis." 17 Feb 2004. The Regents of the University of California. 21 Oct 2007. >.
* University of Maryland. "Phylogenetic Analysis I." 2006. 21 Oct. 2007. .

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