Discovery of Biomarkers of Obesity
As the obesity epidemic continues to pose significant risk to individual health and quality of life, as well as strain economic and healthcare systems, it is essential to develop effective anti-obesity strategies. Lifestyle recommendations take center stage in the management of obesity, however sustaining even modest body weight loss can be difficult for many individuals. An overarching goal should be to refine obesity and metabolic risk assessment and develop interventions that are as individualized as the complex network of genetic and environmental interactions driving individual obesity susceptibility. To this end, biomarkers can facilitate obesity classification, help to refine metabolic risk, lead to personalized interventions, and potentially identify obesity-prone individuals before significant weight gain manifests. Additionally, obesity biomarkers can be used to track population trends and provide insight into groups requiring intervention. This chapter focuses on anthropometric biomarkers of obesity and then moves through adipose tissue, biochemical and omics-level biomarkers characterizing the obese state. Key metabolic processes which become dysregulated with increasing body weight are also highlighted. Examples of where these biomarkers have been pursued as obesity treatment targets and the lessons learned about the complexity of processes controlling energy and metabolic homeostasis learned through these endeavors will be discussed.