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Alcoholism Risk Is Associated With Increased Risk Of Obesity

December 31, 2010: 10:00 AM EST

A U.S. study has found a “cross-heritability” between alcoholism and obesity, indicating that a family history of alcoholism puts individuals, particularly women, at higher risk for obesity. The data were compiled from surveys of 80,000 people conducted in the 1990s and in 2001 and 2002. Cross-heritability is a predisposition to one condition that puts people at risk for other conditions. The risk appears to be growing, the researchers found, thanks to changes in the food we eat and the availability of more foods that interact with the same brain areas as addictive drugs. Obesity in the U.S. has doubled from 15 percent of the population in the late 1970s to 33 percent in 2004. Obese people have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.

Richard A. Grucza, PhD, et al. , "The Emerging Link Between Alcoholism Risk and Obesity in the United States", Archives of General Psychiatry, December 31, 2010, © American Medical Association
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