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Loughborough obesity researchers appeal for volunteers

Loughborough University researchers have appealed for as many volunteers as possible to take part in a study aimed at understanding how exercise affects how much people eat.

They want to establish a database of males for a study designed to help them in the fight against obesity.

Scientists know that variations in people’s genes can cause changes in the release of ghrelin, a hormone released by the gut that stimulates appetite. What they do not know is how exercise affects those genes.

By studying the effects of exercise on gut hormones and appetite in people with variations of obesity-related genes, they hope to be able to come up with effective treatments for obesity.

The researchers already have 100 volunteers but need more for their database. After an initial 60 minute consultation, some will be invited back for further visits involving exercise.

The study is being financed by Loughborough University and University College London at a time when obesity has reached epidemic levels.

In the UK, 26 per cent of adults are considered obese, while the proportion of healthy weight men and women is less than 50 per cent.

Lead researcher James Dorling, from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough, said: “It has been shown that variations in certain genes have been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.

“Some of these variations alter the levels of a hunger hormone in the blood known as ghrelin, so people who have harmful versions of the gene are more predisposed to obesity through increased hunger.

“Given that we know that exercise can suppress this hormone, we are going to see if exercise can suppress this hormone to different levels, or the same level, in individuals with different versions of the gene.”

James said the research was vital. “We are in an obesity epidemic, and the costs for the NHS are huge.

 “We are beginning to realise that the one-size-fits-all treatment for obesity is wrong and we are looking to find efficient treatments for weight management and health based on genetics.”

Volunteers must:

  • Be male
  • Aged 18-50
  • Non smokers
  • Have no history of cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, or dyslipidaemia.
  • Not be on a diet, or have extreme eating habits
  • Not be taking any medication
  • Have no food allergies
  • Be weight stable (less than 3 kg weight loss) for the last three months
  • Not have a psychiatric or medical illness
  • Come from European ancestry.

All volunteers will receive detailed feedback on their own results.

Anyone interested should contact James on or 07548844909.  


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 14/141

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.


Chris Goddard
Public Relations Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697

PR team

Telephone: 01509 222224