Obesity and its associated metabolic syndrome, a combined group of factors that increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, has reached epidemic proportions among adolescents in the U.S.
For the last three decades, Ahmed Kissebah, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine and Director of the TOPS Obesity and Metabolic Research Center, has been diligently searching to identify those genes associated with obesity and its health risks such as diabetes and coronary heart disease.
With support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Club, Inc., totaling over $30 million over the past 15 years, over 6,000 of its members have been studied for the genetic influences contributing to obesity.
Now, Dr. Kissebah and his colleagues are looking for those genes among the descendents of these TOPS families (2nd and 3rd generation) in order to identify the key genes affecting this worldwide epidemic.
Dr. Kissebah’s current research is focused on studying the body composition of children using newer technologies available at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
These data along with their DNA samples are being analyzed in order to identify the genetic origin of obesity and the metabolic syndrome now affecting children, and how these influences are affected by the physiologic and body composition changes that accompanies puberty and aging.
For more information on the TOPS organizations, please visit www.tops.org