Why are we getting so fat?.

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About this work


In this Horizon special, geneticist Dr Giles Yeo explores the burgeoning obesity crisis in the UK, whilst a group of obese people collectively talk about their experiences of everyday life and people’s perceptions of their illness. To begin, Yeo discusses the discrepancy in understanding between how and why people become obese. He measures his BMI, whilst travelling to visit various people who have generated sensational media headlines due to their weight. He visits Les Price, who recounts his experiences being the subject of an article about his obesity in The Daily Mail. Yeo discusses fast food and obesogenic environments. Next, he explains the role of the gene fat mass and obesity-related transcript (FTO) in obesity. Yeo visits a group of dieters under Director Susannah Howard. He analyses the FTO risk variants in their genes. Yeo and Dr Tony Goldstone use the group to conduct an experiment exploring how obesity genes interfere with how we eat and manage sensations of hunger. Yeo visits Nathan Hewitt, who was featured in a media story about teenage obesity. He recounts his decision to lose weight through a vigorous exercise programme. Professor Keith Godfrey at University Hospital Southampton explains his team’s research into ways to chemically stop the development of the FTO double-risk gene in utero. Programme Manager Catherine Woods-Townsend explains some of the research results to a group of school children. Yeo visits Philip Perrot, who recounts his experiences undergoing bariatric surgery. He then visits Professor Steve Bloom and Professor Tricia Tan at Imperial College London, who have been developing a hormone-based injection that acts as an appetite suppressant. They exhibit and explain a trial they are conducting as part of their research. Yeo visits a woman who was the subject of various news headlines in the USA for gaining weight after being cured of clostridium difficile. Dr Colleen Kelly talks about the relationship between bacterium and weight gain. Dr Jessica Allegretti at Brigham and Women’s Hospital explains her research into gastrointestinal microbiomes, and exhibits a trial procedure looking at glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). To conclude, Professor Tim Spector explains his research into the bacteria christensenella using identical and non-identical twins as control subjects.



Physical description

1 DVD (60 min.) : sound, colour ; 12 cm.

Copyright note

BBC Science Production.


Originally broadcast on 07 June 2016 on BBC 2.

Creator/production credits

Produced and directed by Milla Harrison-Hansley and Alicky Sussman.
Presented by Dr Giles Yeo.



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