With more mass it would be tempting to believe that a more obese person has more fat cells. What people don’t realize is that the quantity of fat cells doesn’t change. What is different in the obese versus leaner people’s fat cells is just the size.
While scientists have more or less known since the 1970s that the amount of fat cells doesn’t change from what it was set at during adolescence, a research study by Kirsty Spalding of Sweden used several different experiments to elaborate this point. Spalding’s studies included counting cells, examining the effects of surgery, and using Cold War radioactive victims to figure out to what degree cells are replaced. From counting cells Spalding was able to confirm that in both heavy and lighter people the number of fat cells remains constant after time. The number of fat cells only changes during childhood.
By counting the number of cells a person who used surgery to remove weight had, Spalding found out that even with the surgery the number of cells remained the same. The significance of these findings could mean different treatment for obesity. More importantly, this evidence proves how important it is to keep children at a healthy weight while they are setting their number of fat cells.