Fat people really ARE more jolly – because their genes mean they're less likely to get depressed Scientists from McMaster University in Canada found the so called 'fat gene' FTO is also a 'happy gene', tooAssociated with an eight per cent reduction in the risk of depression

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<strong>UPDATED:</strong>

18:16 GMT, 20 November 2012

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<br><p>The word 'jolly' has long been a byword word for 'plump' – hijacked by experts in the back handed compliment.</p><p>But scientists believe there could be genetic evidence which explains why fat people are often happier than their skinny friends.</p><p>It comes after Strictly favourite Lisa Riley has been flying the flag for larger women insisting she is a 'big, happy girl', more than
comfortable with her size. <br></p>
<img src="http://www.big-wife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/b117article-2235860-1619609B000005DC-63_634x659.jpg" width="634" height="659" alt="Scientists have linked the 'fat gene' with the 'happy gene'. Strictly star Lisa Riley has recently said she is a 'big, really happy girl who is lucky enough to be confident in her own skin'" class="blkBorder" />
<p class="imageCaption">Scientists have linked the 'fat gene' with the 'happy gene'. Strictly star Lisa Riley has recently said she is a 'big, really happy girl who is lucky enough to be confident in her own skin'</p>
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</p><p>The breakthrough could be an explanation for why obese characters, such as The Laughing Policeman and Father Christmas, are often portrayed as jovial and kindly</p>
<p>Scientists from McMaster University in Canada found the so called 'fat gene' FTO is also a 'happy gene' too.

</p><p>FTO is the major genetic contributor to obesity.<br></p><p>But it is also associated with an eight per cent reduction in the risk of depression. <br></p><p>
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<img src="http://www.big-wife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/104earticle-2235860-162252F6000005DC-513_306x423.jpg" width="306" height="423" alt="The gene in question is FTO, which may also lower the risk of depression by eight per cent " class="blkBorder" />
<p class="imageCaption">The gene in question is FTO, which may also lower the risk of depression by eight per cent </p>
<p>Researchers at McMaster University in Canada had been investigating whether there was a link between obesity and depression. <br></p><p>But when they investigated the genetic and psychiatric status of
patients enrolled in the EpiDREAM study, led by the Population Health
Research Institute, they found the opposite was true. <br></p><p>The study analysed 17,200 DNA samples from participants
in 21 countries.<br></p><p>Results showed those with the the previously identified FTO gene – the fat gene -showed significantly less signs of depression.<br></p><p>The study finding was confirmed by analysing the genetic status of patients in three additional international studies.</p><p>Professor David Meyre, of McMaster University in Canada, said: 'We set out to follow a different path, starting from the hypothesis that both depression and obesity deal with brain activity. <br></p><p>'We hypothesised that obesity genes may be linked to depression.</p><p>'The difference of eight per cent is modest and it won't make a big difference in the day-to-day care of patients.</p><p> 'But, we have discovered a novel molecular basis for depression.</p> <p>'It is the first evidence that an FTO obesity gene is associated with protection against major depression, independent of its effect on body mass index.'</p><p>In a recent interview Strictly favourite Lisa Riley said she was more than comfortable with her size. <br></p><p>She said she is &#8216;a big, really happy girl who is lucky enough to be confident in her own skin&#8217;, and added: 'Many would give their left arm to be thinner. Not me' <br></p><p>She added: 'I genuinely love being different and it drives me mad that people don&#8217;t believe I&#8217;m happy as I am. <br></p><p>'Why do I want to look like everyone else But I know people think: &#8220;She says that, but she doesn&#8217;t mean it, she&#8217;s very sad really".'</p><p><br><br></p><p><br></p>