Shedding Pounds Lengthens Life

Mouse study found those that lacked weight-control gene were twice as heavy

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Gene therapy-based research with mice provides more evidence that slimming down can lead to a longer life.

University of Florida scientists studied mice that lacked a crucial weight-control gene that regulates leptin production and were nearly twice as heavy as normal mice. Without adequate leptin, animals overeat and gain weight, the researchers said.

When this weight-control gene was restored to some of the mice, they lost weight and two-thirds of them outlived every mouse in an untreated group.

"Our study very clearly demonstrates for the first time that if you can reduce obesity or the fat load, you have a greater chance of living longer," lead researcher Satya Kalra, a professor of neuroscience, said in a prepared statement.

"Clinical reports are abundant that obesity produces metabolic diseases that shorten the lifespan of obese people," Kalra said.

The study was presented Oct. 25 at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

More information

The Harvard School of Public Health has more about healthy weight.

SOURCE: University of Florida, news release, Oct. 25, 2004

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