Media Centre

Press releases

Is hunger determined by our DNA?

Researchers at Loughborough University and University College London are establishing a database to understand whether some people are genetically hungrier than others.

Emerging research suggests DNA has an important role to play in appetite control, which could mean some people are predisposed at birth to eat more, and ultimately become overweight.

DNA controls the amount of ghrelin - an appetite stimulating hormone released by the gut, and recent evidence has shown minor variations in our DNA can affect the amount of food we need to eat to feel full.

Exercise is already recognised as an important way to maintain a healthy weight through burning calories, but scientists at Loughborough believe it can also have positive effects on appetite and gut hormones.

They are now calling on healthy males aged 18 to 35 to give up to two hours of their time to provide blood, body composition measurements, and lifestyle information for the new database.

Lead researcher James Dorling, a PhD student in the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS), explains:    

“We know exercise can influence appetite and gut hormones, but we don’t know exactly how it interacts with our genetics to achieve this. 

“This database will contribute to an expanding body of evidence about the role of exercise in successful weight management and overall health. 

“A clearer understanding of how exercise influences gut hormones and appetite will help us combat obesity in the future.”

Anyone interested in taking part should contact James on 07548 844 909 or

Testing will take place at Loughborough University. All data provided is confidential and anonymous, and participants will receive feedback on their own results. Participants may be invited to take part in further studies at the University.

This is a joint project between Loughborough University and the Centre for Obesity Research at University College London.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 14/64

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year title in 2008-09 and has been named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.


Amanda Overend
Public Relations Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223491

PR team

Telephone: 01509 222224