Obesity is caused by an imbalance between energy intake and output, influenced by numerous environmental, biological, and genetic factors. Only a minority of people with obesity have a genetic defect that is the main cause of their obesity. A key symptom for most of these disorders is early-onset obesity and hyperphagia. For some genetic obesity disorders, the hyperphagia is the main characteristic, often caused by disruptions of the leptin-melanocortin pathway, the central pathway that regulates the body's satiety and energy balance. For other disorders, obesity is part of a distinct combination of other clinical features such as intellectual disability, dysmorphic facial features, or organ abnormalities. This chapter focuses on genetic obesity disorders and also summarizes the present knowledge on the genetics of the more common polygenic/multifactorial obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-441
Number of pages23
JournalExperientia supplementum (2012)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Body weight regulation
  • Common obesity
  • Early-onset obesity
  • Genetic obesity
  • Hyperphagia
  • Leptin-melanocortin pathway
  • Non-syndromic obesity
  • Syndromic obesity

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