Good News for Individuals Struggling with Weight Loss

Mon Jun 4, 2012 1:17pm EDT

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Good News for Individuals Struggling with Weight Loss

Weight loss study ties improved weight-loss success to knowledge about genetic make-up

A recent weight loss study shows that when participants know their genetic make-up, they have greater success losing weight and lowering their Body Mass Index (BMI). The California Schools VEBA - Pathway Genomics Corporation study evaluated weight loss results of 179 overweight California school employees. Results at 6 months showed that when employees took the Pathway Fit® genetic test (of approximately 100 different genes and their variants related to sugar and fat metabolism, eating behaviors, best diet, micronutrients, and other parameters), they had significant weight loss success (some lost up to 40 pounds) when compared to employees who had previously tried to lose weight, under similar conditions, without the genetic test.

Both groups of employees worked with a VEBA health coach to help them develop an exercise and nutrition plan, and all received the same standard of care. However, the employees who knew and utilized their genetic-based diets and behaviors obtained greater weight loss (and other positive effects like decreased blood pressure) when compared with employees who had health coaching and standard of care only.

A participant in the study describes, “The genetic study helped me change my overall behaviors and food choices and portion control. The understanding of my overall genes and physical health has helped me work more effectively with my VEBA health coach to achieve my weight loss goals.”

The study—conducted in partnership with the California Schools VEBA (VEBA), Healthy Adventures Foundation and Pathway Genomics Corporation—collected interim results in January 2012. Principal investigator, Wendy Hileman, CEO, Healthy Adventures Foundation describes, “The findings indicate that when participants have more information about their genetic predisposition, especially concerning exercise, eating behaviors, and diets, they have the validation they need to stick to a tailored program for the long haul, rather than quitting early on.”

The Pathway Fit® report is a health professional (M.D., D.O., N.P.) ordered saliva DNA test, where the participant simply spits in a plastic tube and sends it to Pathway’s lab to be analyzed. Through the analysis of genes and their variants (mutations)—which are expressed in various organs, such as the brain, stomach, gut, muscle, pancreas, and directly in fat tissue—participants gain insight about how their bodies process sugars, fats, nutrients and vitamins. This rigorous scientifically validated information is included in a detailed report that shows each participant how he or she may respond to a best diet, certain exercises and eating behaviors, traits such as bitter taste and caffeine metabolism, and his or her potential response to certain foods and micronutrients. Recently, there have been a number of double-blinded studies published showing the utility and positive psychological responses by patients of genetic testing for weight loss or nutrigenomic information (eg. Meisel, et al, Obesity, March 2012)

Michael Nova, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Pathway Genomics, whose team developed the test says, “The results of this preliminary study corroborate with the results we’re seeing in other areas of weight loss and personal nutrition management. When participants gain more knowledge about themselves, including understanding their metabolism, eating behaviors and response to exercise, as well as suggestions on the best ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight given their genetic predispositions, it helps lead them to make better health decisions and behavior changes for the long term.”

Because the results were so compelling, VEBA, along with its other study partners, applied for a grant from the Allen Foundation to help it continue to roll out the relatively inexpensive Pathway Fit® test to additional high-risk employees at participating VEBA school districts.

About the California Schools VEBA

The California Schools VEBA is a trust that offers school districts and employee organizations buying power and the structure to provide control over a variety of benefit issues. Benefits trusts continue to positively influence the quality of care delivered by contracted carriers and their providers. They also help members attain superior health care choices, rate stability, portability, affordability and quality for education employees. Total participation in the trust includes 40 southern California school districts and associations. The trust serves both employees and their dependents, totaling more than 89,000 members. For more information, visit

About Healthy Adventures Foundation

Healthy Adventures Foundation is committed to developing company wellness programs that educate, inspire, support, and create opportunities for healthy lifestyle. Its strength lies in the ability to form collaborative working relationships with diverse groups of individuals, providing support, resources and expertise in building and maintaining healthy communities. For more information, visit

About Pathway Genomics Corporation

Located in San Diego, California, Pathway Genomics owns and operates an onsite federally CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) and CAP accredited and California state-licensed laboratory that offers many high-complexity genetic testing services, including partial gene sequencing. Using customized and scientifically validated genetic testing technologies within a controlled and secure environment, Pathway Genomics conducts genetic testing to generate personalized reports for health conditions, drug responses, and pregnancy carrier status, as well as testing for one’s metabolism and exercise response. Pathway’s services are available through physicians and select health management organizations, and the Pathway Fit® test is currently sold in over 34 different countries worldwide. For more information, visit

Celia Bloom, 619-398-2838