Are Fat People Happier Than Skinny People?

I was recently out to a local restaurant and observed two couples having dinner. The two couples were vastly different; one couple appeared to be quite skinny where the other couple could be classified as fat or obese. From my vantage point, the couple who was skinny in classification did not appear to be having near as much fun as the larger counterparts across the dining area. The couple who were large carried on a lively conversation with laughter and animation whereas, the skinny couple were sullen and disengaged. This observation made me wonder if indeed, fat people are happier than skinny people?

While researching, I came across an article at Elite Daily that suggests there is such a thing as the ‘fat gene’. This fat gene  is known as FTO (fat mass and obesity associated), or the happy gene. This article goes on to note that while FTO is the major contributor to obesity, it is also associated with a reduction in depression. Researchers hypothesized a connection between depression and obesity and brain activity. Scientists noted that although a small number, there is still a connection between FTO and happiness.



As outlined in another article on the website, Indiatoday, patients enrolled in the EpiDream study, were found to be happy and showed no signs of depression. The study utilized 17,200 DNA samples from participants in 21 countries. Researchers found that those with the FTO gene showed significantly less signs of depression. The outcomes have forged discussion and research in reference to FTO and future medical treatment.


As documented in the International Journal of Obesity, genetic researchers have determined that the FTO gene makes the body store fat, thus the onset of obesity. FTO also affects how full one is, food intake and controls hunger. O’Rahilly, Clinical Biochemistry Professor at University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories, connected FTO activity with hypothalamic activity. The hypothalamus is a powerful part of the brain, controlling many functions, such as sleep, thirst, hunger, metabolism, growth and development. O’ Rahilly’s notations concerning the presence of FTO was more of a connection to eating behaviors, thus risking obesity, than it was to emotion and happiness. Research regarding FTO’s link to obesity and other health issues appears to be gaining momentum.


Research regarding FTO’s link to obesity and other health issues appears to be gaining momentum. Clinicians continue to research for ways or perhaps even a drug that will curb obesity and the link to FTO.  However, the research concerning the link between the happy gene known as FTO and depression is still in the early stages. I have to wonder still, if fat people are truly happier than skinny people. What I have found is that the data is inconclusive about the true correlation between fat people and happiness, but discovered a great deal of interest in FTO and its connection to obesity.

1 thought on “Are Fat People Happier Than Skinny People?

  1. Matthew J Overmoyer

    First, I’d love to know what made you choose this topic. It’s unique and interesting and there’s a lot to talk about. I didn’t know there was a fat gene or that it might be linked to happiness. Anyways, here are some random thoughts in no particular order. I wonder if reverse causation actually causes people who are happy with themselves to stop caring about weight as much. I wonder if the reason the results of these studies are conclusive is a difficulty in defining happiness. I wonder if this gene just causes both happiness and obesity. Perhaps a confounding factor is responsible, like personality or self confidence. Lastly, I find it odd, considering obesity leads to many health problems that obese people would be happier considering the unhealthy state of their bodies. Thank you, and neat post.

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