Over the past two decades, we have observed an alarming escalation of the global prevalence of obesity that is mirrored by the rapidly rising incidence of type 2 diabetes. The high co-occurrence rate of these diseases is associated with serious health problems and mortality. Thus it puts a large financial burden on society and represents the biggest public health challenge of the 21st century. The twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes is mainly attributable to changes in our lifestyle, i.e. excessive consumption of foods that are high in fats and sugars combined with reduced physical activity, that lead to a chronic disruption of body weight regulation and to the development of metabolic disorders. In addition, family, twin and adoption studies indicate the significant role of genes in an individual’s predisposition to becoming obese. To date, most experts agree on that the recent upsurge in obesity is the result of a complex interplay between multiple genetic, behavioural and environmental factors, however the relative contribution of these causal factors remains unclear. The central aim of this thesis was to gain insight into the genetic susceptibility to both obesity and type 2 diabetes and to further our understanding of the genetic architecture of these complex diseases. ... Zie: Engelse samenvatting
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