A new study determined doctors can assign a risk score that can accurately predict the body mass index, obesity risk, and overall risk of disease using genes.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the study, which was conducted at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and whose results were published in the journal Cell.
The researchers found in the case of more than 306,000 people, a polygenic score — which factors in genetics — was able to accurately predict their body mass index, weight, and obesity status.
The process looks at several genes to assign a polygenic score, which can be used by doctors to better treat patients.
"Obesity risk from genes can now be distilled into a single number for each person," geneticist, cardiologist, and senior author of the study Sekar Kathiresan told the Journal. "It's like measuring somebody's cholesterol."
The risk score can also be used as a preventative measure, particularly with America's obesity rate among adults approaching 40%.
"People will have knowledge about their particular risk, and that would be a foundation for actionable efforts for prevention," Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Translational Institute told the Journal.
Obesity often leads to diabetes, which in some cases raises the risk of Parkinson's disease, it was reported last year.