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Renata Machado Pinto, Speaker at Obesity Conferences
Federal University of Goias, Brazil


Obesity is a condition with a multifactorial etiology, influenced by genetic, epigenetic, endocrine-metabolic, and behavioral factors. In about 95% of cases, obesity is called “common”, “exogenous,” or “polygenic.”

For exogenous obesity to occur, common variants (polymorphisms) of hundreds of genes need to add up, each one conferring a slight increase in risk for weight gain. When this higher risk gene pool is associated with some habits and environmental factors, obesity ensues. Several pieces of research show the importance of genetics in the susceptibility to obesity. Studies with twins and adopted children show that 55 to 80% of the variation of body mass index (BMI) is attributed to genetic factors.

According to the genetic criteria, obesity is classified as:

A) Monogenic - when a mutated gene is responsible for the phenotype;

B) Syndromic - when a set of specific symptoms are present and a small group of genes is involved; usually the term is used to describe obese patients with cognitive delay, dysmorphic features, organ-specific abnormalities, hyperphagia, and/or other signs of hypothalamic dysfunction

C) Polygenic - also called “common” obesity, present in up to 95% of cases. Many genes add up to provide a further risk to the individual, and if associated with some habits culminate in weight gain.

The main warning sign for obesity secondary to endocrine diseases is the presence of short stature or reduced growth velocity since in exogenous obesity, height growth and bone maturation are generally accelerated. The primary endocrine diseases that lead to obesity are hypothyroidism, growth hormone (GH) deficiency, Cushing's syndrome, and hypothalamic dysfunction.

Suspect hypothyroidism if goiter, dry and cold skin, pubertal delay, constipation, poor school performance, and drowsiness. In the case of GH Deficiency, the critical reduction in growth rate, centripetal adiposity, and thin voice calls attention. Hypercortisolism courses with stretch marks, high blood pressure, full moon face, and hump. Obesity resulting from hypothalamic dysfunction, on the other hand, is hyperphagia, signs of intracranial hypertension, in addition to a history of radiation or central nervous system surgery.


Renata Machado Pinto graduated in Medicine in 1997, then held a medical residency in Pediatrics and later in Pediatric Endocrinology. She has a master's degree in genetics and a doctorate in health sciences, researching the effect of genetic polymorphisms in the genesis of childhood obesity and its complications. She is a professor in the department of pediatrics at the Federal University of Goiás, and is coordinator of the academic leagues of Pediatrics and Endocrinology. She is a member of the Scientific Department of Endocrinology of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics. She works in a doctor's office, attending mainly the topics: growth, puberty, genital disorders, nutrition, dyslipidemia, and childhood obesity.