"These findings provide possible starting points for new approaches to preventing and treating obesity and its associated diseases," said senior author of the study Jeremy Nicholson, professor at Imperial College London.

Urine contains a variety of chemicals known as metabolites, from a vast range of biochemical processes in the body. Technologies that analyse the metabolic makeup of a sample can therefore offer huge amounts of information that reflects both a person's genetic make up and lifestyle factors, the study noted.

These people could be at risk of developing obesity and metabolic diseases, and might benefit from personalised preventative interventions,"  Elliott noted.Being overweight or obese is associated with higher risk of heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and cancer, but the mechanisms connecting body fat and disease are not well understood.The findings appeared in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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