The study examined obesity and weight loss in mice at different weight stages. The researchers were able to develop mice that were programmed to become obese by manipulating the gene that controls hunger. The gene was turned off and on at different times.
The researchers found that the amount of time a mouse was overweight was positively correlated with the difficulty of weight loss. Mice that were overfed, even in the earliest stages of obesity, were not able to return to a healthy weight after the hunger gene was turned off, even though they ate less food and were more active.
The condition of obesity became nearly irreversible the longer the mice were overweight. On the other hand, mice that were able to maintain a healthy weight into young adulthood through dieting were able to maintain a normal weight without dieting even after the hunger gene was turned off.
The shocking findings indicate that obesity may be an irreversible disorder. According to the Center for Disease Control, obesity in children has over tripled in the past thirty years. Early intervention, especially for children, is critical for obesity prevention and weight loss. Routing exercise and a balanced diet may prevent this lasting, adverse health condition.