Researchers from Dartmouth’s Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences (iQBS) and the Center for Genomic Medicine have helped to discover three unique genetic variations that influence body size and obesity in men and women of African ancestry.

This study, a meta-analysis that examined 3.2 million genetic variants in over 30,000 people with African heritage for links to body-mass index or BMI—by professors Jason Moore, Christopher Amos and Scott Williams—was the largest ever done on this population to date. The study was published online in April 2013 by Nature Genetics, and will be printed in the journal’s June 2013 issue. The large-scale genetic analysis demonstrated the utility of examining ancestrally diverse populations for clues as to why some groups seem more prone than others to physical problems such as obesity.

Nearly 50 percent of African-American adults in the U.S. are clinically obese (with BMI >=30), compared to 35 percent of non-Hispanic white adults. One large U.S. study found that the incidence of morbid or extreme “class 3” obesity (BMI >=40) was highest among black women.


The study done by Moore, Amos, and Williams—also from the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC)—and colleagues showed that people from different populations share similar genetic traits that impact body size (people with African ancestry shared 32 gene variants previously associated with BMI in European and Asian populations). Yet the study also revealed that people with African ancestry possess three genetic variations that work in concert with environmental factors to impact BMI. This knowledge may help scientists to understand, and clinicians to better prevent or treat, obesity in this population.

The authors agree that both genes and environment play a role in obesity. Jason H. Moore, PhD, Third Century Professor, professor of genetics, and director of the iQBS, says, “I would love to stress that this paper is really just a start or a foundation for understanding the role of genetic variation in obesity. We expect obesity to be influenced by hundreds, if not thousands of genes and many, many environmental factors. While some genetic variants are likely to increase or decrease weight in all people, most are likely to influence weight in specific people depending on their genetic background and their unique environmental history including diet, toxic metal exposure, exercise, etc. We will not fully understand the genetics of obesity until we can fully investigate these context-dependent genetic effects.”

Christopher Amos, PhD, director of the Center for Genomic Medicine, associate director for Population Sciences at NCCC, and professor of community and family medicine, explains that in African-Americans, genes played a greater role in causing increased BMI than in Caucasians. He says, “Since the environmental factors have not been studied, the actual contribution from genetic factors may be greatly underestimated.” Subsequent research may clarify how much of a role genes play in promoting obesity, and what might be done to reduce its incidence in vulnerable populations.

Unfortunately, obesity is common not only among African-Americans but among Africans as well. Scott Williams, PhD, professor of genetics and founding director of the Center for Integrative Biomedical Sciences in iQBS, says, “In Africa, the World Health Organization has predicted several hundred million new cases of obesity by 2020 (from mid 2000s). In our cohort in Ghana, roughly 25-30 percent of women were obese by U.S. criteria. In South Africa it is even worse.”


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  • Conan

    Somebody show this to Frances Cress Welsing.

  • Puggg

    Genes play a role in obesity differences.

    They can also play a role in intelligence differences.

    • Flytrap

      Heresy, heresy!!! It can’t be true!

    • NeanderthalDNA

      Can? I think it safe to say – DO.

  • The__Bobster

    One large U.S. study found that the incidence of morbid or extreme “class 3″ obesity (BMI >=40) was highest among black women.

    Gee, who’d a thunk it? I thought all Nubian princesses were highly desirable runway models.

    • Not surprising at all. The bad thing is that they do not really care what they look like at all because they wear clothes that show off too much of their flab. I saw one of these women once wear spandex and she looked like a sausage with all of the rolls of fat hanging out wrapped in spandex.

      • The__Bobster

        You know, I was getting ready to have dinner. Now that’s out of the question.

        • Who knows? Sorry I ruined your dinner. I support free abortions for these black women. They are all doing us a favor by not bringing more thugs into the world.

        • Nah, that requires planning and cleverness. They just go for it and hope they’re not hitting the fold in a fat roll.

      • Joel W

        how true. i live in a downtown area and daily am utterly disgusted with these whales posing as humans show as much skin as a lingerie model and then seeing the ‘brothas’ breaking their necks to look at em and practically drooling over them. one black guy i used to work with once told me his ideal girl is 180-250 lbs. gross. and this in spite of the fact that he about 5’6″ish and skinny. i think i just caused myself to lose my appetite.

        • saxonsun

          Great post–thanks for the laughs.

      • TheAntidote

        Lol. I see specimens like this at Walmark all the time. I have friends who walk into the adjoining aisle and shout, “Thar she blows! to the harpoon boats!

        • saxonsun

          Unfortunately, the whites at Wally World are the same as the blacks.

      • Jenna Kerr

        They have high self esteem. They think they look good.

    • Dogbone

      Bobster, I got your Nubian princesses right here.

      • Like I said, they have no shame.

      • NeanderthalDNA

        Oh lord – just gagged on the corn chip I was swallowing. Please don’t post anything like that here again. (LOL – GAG).

        Well, time for another timeless quote from Hinton Helper’s “Of the Negroes in Negroland”, kiddies!

        “The women of Inasamet not only made the first advances, but, what is worse, they were offered even by the men, their brethren or husbands. Even those among the men whose behavior was least vile and revolting did not cease urging us to engage with the women, who failed not to present themselves soon afterwards. It could scarcely be taken as a joke. Some of the women were immensely fat, particularly in the hinder regions.”

        Earth’s Africa, Vol. I., page 408.

      • Sherman_McCoy

        Eye bleach!!!! Dear God, give me some EYE BLEACH!!!

      • Oh dear Lord. That post is first degree negligent bonercide.

  • The__Bobster

    “In Africa, the World Health Organization has predicted several hundred million new cases of obesity by 2020 (from mid 2000s). In our cohort in Ghana, roughly 25-30 percent of women were obese by U.S. criteria. In South Africa it is even worse.”

    So why are brainwashed Kwans sending millions to Afreaka to feed all the starving golliwogs?

  • pcmustgo

    And Asians are genetically tinier than whites. Which means if you like the tiny and super slim look, you’ll almost always like Asian women better.

    • That is true for the most part but there are some exceptions such as golfer Michelle Wie who is around 6′ tall and former Stanford and WNBA basketball player Lindsey Yamasaki who stands 6’2″.

    • The__Bobster

      I’ll pass. I prefer American gymnasts.

      • I agree with you. I always questioned whether the Chinese gymnasts were actually old enough to compete in the Olympics and world championships because they claim to be 16 or 18 and look like little girls.

    • David Ashton

      Engelman, where are you?

    • rightrightright

      Chinese people historically are lactose intolerant and avoided dairy produce. So, without milk, cheese, butter and cream dishes, staying slim was natural. However, I have read that the Chinese government is encouraging its people to take up diary foods, inure themselves to the intolerance, so that they can grow taller.

  • Spencer E

    In the Biology 101 college class I’m taking, it says that there are no genes that are distinct to one race or another. I can’t believe the book cost $80

    • Nathanwartooth

      The book costs 80 dollars and the class probably 500 or more.

      I have learned much more outside of college than in it.

    • MBlanc46

      I believe that it’s not a matter of individual genes, but of the frequency of their distribution in populations.

    • Liz Betbeze

      American schools are intangible employment factories for the unemployable journalists(book writers), liberal art majors, etc, etc. Not one person could intelligently achieve the reading and writing assignments(you got passed because your check cleared).

    • NM156

      Would you put up some passages from the text?

  • APaige

    ‘Obesity’ is a relative term and we should not judge people. (if you do judge people you are bad-but not judging you in anyway.)
    Genetics is a social construct-it has nothing to do with biology.
    Differences in the U.S are because of slavery.
    Differences in Africa are because of colonization.

    • Sherman_McCoy

      You forgot the /sarc.

      LOL, my friend.

  • John R

    Hmmm….let’s see: An ethnic group that is also known to be less intelligent by any study, to value education less, to be impulsive in it’s behaviors, to waste money, to engage in reckless procreation, and to have the highest crime rates, and they are also most likely to be obese. Does anyone here notice a consistent pattern of black peoples’ behavior? Doesn’t this just fit the same general pattern of blacks never being able to build anything, invest in anything, including themselves? Genes or culture, does it make any difference at this point?

    • I think that a lot of the murders in the black community are due them acting impulsively because the guy that they shot and killed looked at them funny, or the guy did not show them respect etc.

    • MBlanc46

      Yes, I think it does matter, because findings such as these do undermine the accepted view racial differences aren’t genetic.

  • bigone4u

    The good news is that since fat isn’t sexy, the attraction of whites and other races to blacks ought to be limited. The bad news is that Obamacare is going to have to pay for the unforgiving health problems brought on by too much fat. The next question to investigate is why the fat genes and the dumb genes infest the black race more than others.

    • I have seen many obese white women with black men. I guess they like them big.

      • bigone4u

        Maybe, but my theory is that they will take any white woman no matter how unattractive because a white woman on your black arm is a status symbol. In favor of your theory is that the black women in hip hop vids are often ginormously huge.

  • Then why is there so little obesity in Africa? Black “Americans” are fat slobs because they don’t work unless it is a sitting job with the government.

    • Not Politically Correct

      You mean like many White people.

    • NM156

      Not true. Lots of obesity in Africa among the class that can spend money on food.

  • How come Black males have, statistically, less body fat than Whites, and, at the same time, tend to transmogrify into over bloated barrels of animal fat ? “Soul food” ?

    • Soul food would be one of the problems but they also eat a lot of fast food, which is high in fat. They also eat a lot of cheap foods such as ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese that have little or no nutritional value.

      • Joel W

        i think it is definitely more genetic. i pretty much live on everything you just listed (and its southern food, not soul food), but i am 6’1″ and 150 lbs so diet cant always be blamed. also my entire family for generations, minus a couple exceptions, were build the same way so i really gotta go with genetics. but then again i also work and am very active when weather permits.

        • I think genetics is true to a certain extent. But many of the black slaves were large people so that they could do all of the agricultural work on the plantations. They also ate large meals but since they worked hard physically, they burned off the calories and did not get obese as their descendants did later on when they ate the same diet as their ancestors but had less activity.

  • Secret Tribunal

    iQBS be rayciss en sheeet all up en heeah.

  • sbuffalonative

    “Progressives” tell us that homosexuality is caused by genes. If they believe this, how can they argue against or deny other influences of genes? If they believe homosexuality is caused by genes, how can they deny the influence of genes on race? If homosexuality is a genetic trait, how can race be a social construct?

    • jambi19

      2+2=5. You know they game they play just as much as everyone else here does.

    • bigone4u

      Progressivism is more akin to an irrational belief system than to Aristototalian rationality. I have fun dropping comments on Huff Po that point out contradictions in libtard’s comments. I doubt it changes their minds, but I do it in hopes of making the sheeple aware of flawed libtard thinking. For example, they often refer to southerners as “rednecks,” and I respond by noting the anti-white racism in that word, and inquiring of them if I can use the word N***** in return, and if not, why not. Some of the libtard comments over there indicate true insanity, not just poor thinking skills.

  • Dogbone

    “The authors agree that both genes and environment play a role in obesity.”

    You can thank natural selection for their genes. Black Africans that could conserve more food stores in their body lived longer to reproduce more. This cause that trait to be dominate.

    Their environment would be their proximity to an EBT card and an ATM machine. Remove either of the two, and their weight will drop dramatically; as will their numbers.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    The only thing certain about this is that blacks will find some way to blame this on Whites — and Whites will be required to pay and pay and pay!!

    Other than that: WHO CARES??


    • For the rising health care costs resulting from obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea.

      • Bon, From the Land of Babble

        We already pay for that, but it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

        I’ve heard blacks at my workplace blame “the effects of living in a White oppressive society as the reason for their health problems”– NOT their diet which consists of high-fat, high-salt foods, copious amounts of soda and little to no exercise.

        With blacks, it ALWAYS has to be someone else’s fault.


  • Dogbone
    • NeanderthalDNA

      How do family members enable this to happen to their kids? How do they afford to feed them?

      • rightrightright

        When a person gets themselves as fat as that, they cannot move about without help, or at all. Easy, then, to impose a weight loss regime. So why don’t relatives do so? Time and time again we read of relatives providing vast quantities guzzle food to their helpless giant baby. Why?

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

      She had a thyroid problem, which causes her to become tired all the time and gain weight, but she should have seeked medical attention when her excessive weight became obvious. She was 200 pounds when she was 14. The school nurse should have notified someone.

  • sbuffalonative

    For anyone interested in DNA, here’s a link to a study of ancient European DNA:

  • guest

    Having already noticed the propensity of certain races toward obesity, when I first heard of the fat police (such as Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Obama), it occurred to me immediately that they might run into opposition from the most favored race.

    In any case, if weight varies by race due to genetics, so do various other factors, including some that are almost unmentionable. Right?

  • JohnEngelman

    When was the last time you saw a fat Oriental? I can’t remember either.

    • China is having a problem with obesity among its young people. Because of country’s prosperity and the fact that most of the kids are only children. they have never experienced famine like the older generations have. Therefore, they have access to just about every fast food chain in America and every video game and internet access like their American peers.

    • throttler

      Kim Jong-un comes to mind. And I personally have known several fat Orientals.

      • JohnEngelman

        And I have known slender blacks. Nearly every characteristic that separates whites on the average from blacks separates Orientals on the average from whites. The most obvious of these are intelligence, crime, and sexual responsibility.

        • throttler

          I guess your question should have been worded differently.

    • Ed_NY

      I saw a few sumo wrestlers that looked that looked anorexic.

  • Liz Betbeze


  • This can’t be true. Otherwise, how could they have flown and built the pyramids?

  • rightrightright–s

    Muslim blacks in North Africa force-fed their daughters into obesity, to help towards a good marriage. Fat on a woman’s body was viewed as a sign of wealth.

  • Alexandra

    I’m thinking indirectly.
    We all know here that blacks don’t tend to plan ahead, and are about satisfying their wants–right now. They’re more likely to eat junk. It’s their genetic behavior, in other words, that leads to obesity.
    Just a thought.