WEDNESDAY, Aug. 7, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified a gene associated with overweight and obesity in both psychiatric patients and people in the general population.
It was known that the CRTC1 gene is involved in obesity and energy balance (calories taken in by eating and drinking versus calories burned through physical activity) in animals, but its role in human weight was unknown.
In this study, researchers examined whether different versions of the CRTC1 gene were associated with weight in psychiatric patients and people in the general population.
"Our results suggest that CRTC1 plays an important role in the high prevalence of overweight and obesity observed in psychiatric patients. Besides, CRTC1 could play a role in the genetics of obesity in the general population, thereby increasing our understanding of the multiple mechanisms influencing obesity," wrote Eva Choong, of Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland, and colleagues.
The study was published online Aug. 7 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
The researchers also found a strong association between CRTC1 variants and fat levels in women younger than 45. This finding shows the need for further research on the link between fat levels and reproduction, the researchers said in a journal news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers advice about healthy weight.