Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 1553–1559

Is Information on Genetic Determinants of Obesity Helpful or Harmful for Obese People?—A Randomized Clinical Trial

Authors

    • Department of Clinical Psychology and PsychotherapyUniversity of Marburg
  • Matthias Conradt
    • Department of Clinical Psychology and PsychotherapyUniversity of Marburg
  • Jan-Michael Dierk
    • Department of Clinical Psychology and PsychotherapyUniversity of Marburg
  • Elisabeth Rauh
    • Center for Behavioral Medicine
  • Pia Schlumberger
    • Department of Clinical Psychology and PsychotherapyUniversity of Marburg
  • Anke Hinney
    • Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of Duisburg-Essen
  • Johannes Hebebrand
    • Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of Duisburg-Essen
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-007-0353-7

Cite this article as:
Rief, W., Conradt, M., Dierk, J. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2007) 22: 1553. doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0353-7

Abstract

Background and Objectives

Although more and more genetic information is available, it is unclear whether this information is helpful for patients. Therefore, we assessed the positive and negative effects of informing obese people about the genetic etiology of being overweight.

Design, Participants

Two hundred ninety-four obese people were randomized to 2 interventions (a 1-session consultation for obese people on how to manage obesity either including genetic information or not); their results were compared to a control group (116). Subjects were assessed before and after consultation and 6 months later.

Measurements

Weight, scales on feeling guilty for being overweight, self-control, negative mood (primary endpoint), body acceptance, restraint eating.

Results

Both types of consultations were considered helpful by the participants, and had comparable effects on body weight. The consultation with genetic information was rated superior in terms of leading to new insights (advantage for consultation with genetic information, even 6 months later; p = 0.046). No negative effects (e.g., loss of self-efficacy/self-control, increase of body weight; all p > 0.20 for interaction consultation × time) were observed for informing obese people about the genetic etiology of being overweight. The consultation resulted in long-term improvement of negative mood if it included genetic information in the case of participants with a family history of obesity and if it included no genetic information in the case of obese people without a family history of obesity (p = 0.03 for interaction of group, intervention, and time).

Conclusions

Consultations in obesity can be helpful in general. These consultations should include genetic information if people have a family history of obesity.

KEY WORDS

obesityconsultationgenetic counselingMC4R mutation

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2007