What to Read Next

The ‘fat’ gene is also the ‘happy’ gene, Canadian scientists discover

Lia Grainger
Shine On
November 21, 2012

It turns that having the so-called "fat" gene may not be as bad as previously thought, because new research shows it may also be something of a "happy" gene.

While previous studies that show those who are obese are more likely to be depressed and vice versa, Canadian scientists have discovered that the reason for this connection might have nothing to do with their genetics.

Scientists at McMaster University decided to investigate whether perhaps FTO -- the gene that has been shown to increase the likelihood of obesity -- was also bumping up the chances of depression.

To everyone's surprise, the results showed the opposite was true.

Also see: Allergic to the cold? Some people actually are

The study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, analyzed data on 27,000 people, looking at their weight, genetics, and depression levels. After running the numbers multiple times, the team found that people carrying the FTO genetic mutation actually had an 8 per cent reduction in the risk of depression.

So does this mean fat people are happy people?

Not really. The study still found a positive correlation between obesity and depression, but these results reveal that that correlation is not caused by this specific gene as has been previously hypothesized. In other words, genetics might not be making fat people sad. In fact, they're probably sad despite having a better chance at being happy, genetically speaking.

"These results suggest that we might do well to rethink just how obvious the connection between being obese and being depressed really is," writes Lindsay Abrams in The Atlantic.

Also see: Meditation can halve the risk of heart attack and stroke: study

According to a 2009 paper titled The Stigma of Obesity: A Review and Update, discrimination against the obese has risen by 66 per cent in the past decade, and is comparable to race discrimination, especially in women.

According to the paper's authors, "Weight bias translates into inequities in employment settings, health-care facilities, and educational institutions, often due to widespread negative stereotypes that overweight and obese persons are lazy, unmotivated, lacking in self-discipline, less competent, noncompliant, and sloppy."

The Canadian Obesity Network also points out the heavy stigmatization of overweight and obese people in the media.

"News photographs and videos tend to portray obese individuals as headless (i.e. only from the shoulders down), from unflattering angles (e.g. with only their abdomens or lower bodies shown), and engaging in stereotypical behaviors (e.g. eating unhealthy foods or engaging in sedentary behavior)."

A Rudd Centre Study has also found that 72 per cent of photographs paired with online news stories about obesity are stigmatizing toward obese individuals.

Weight bias, negative stereotypes and stigmatization by the media. That's a lot for one little 8 per cent genetic advantage to makeup for.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Get paid to E*TRADE

Sign up today and claim your reward.

Bad News For Insurance, Great News For Virginia

Virginia drivers, with cars and good driving records are learning that they may qualify for lower car insurance rates. Do you qualify?

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage (It's Genius)

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this...

Stop Paying Too Much For Your Prescriptions.

Drug prices vary wildly between pharmacies. GoodRx finds the lowest prices and discounts. Compare prices, print free coupons & save up to 80%.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Do NOT pay your insurance until you try this.

If you drive less than 55 miles/day OR have no DUI's you can get auto insurance for as low as $29/ Month! See if you qualify.

Attn Home Owners Who Never Miss a Payment.

Home Owners who have not missed a payment in 3 years or more need to read this. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home there is a solution.

Virginia Drivers Changing Car Insurance To Save

Virginia drivers, with cars and good driving records are learning that they may qualify for lower car insurance rates. Do you qualify?

Get your taxes done this weekend -- for free.

Grab your W-2 and file taxes this weekend for Absolute Zero® : $0 Fed, $0 State, $0 to File. TurboTax Federal Free Edition.

Buying Medicare Supplement Plan F? Read This First

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Seniors: Here's your second chance to get Medicare

Don't wait. Sign up for Medicare & Medigap now during the General Enrollment Period.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!