Sunday, April 7, 2024

Is Genetics and Obesity Linked?

    It is well known that obesity is the leading cause of preventable, premature death. So in this article we will explore ways in which genetics may be a contributing factor to the rise in obesity. Obesity occurs when an individual consumes more calories than their body burns. Other factors that may contribute to this is an individual's environment in which it may promote inactivity and/or unhealthy eating habits. Many of these factors include food deserts, poverty, lack of education, and lack of access to gyms. Although these factors do contribute to obesity that does not mean that every individual who is put under these conditions will result in the same outcome. This is where genetics come into play while looking at individuals who may be more susceptible to obesity. A person's metabolic rate affects their ability to digest food under a certain amount of time making it easier to lose more weight than others or an increased tendency to store body fat. Studies have identified variants in several genes that may contribute to obesity by increasing hunger and food intake. Although very little is known about a specific gene that may contribute to obesity, there have been studies that found rare forms of obesity caused by a mutation in a single gene, known as a monogenic mutation. This mutation contributes to appetite control and energy homeostasis carried on chromosome 18. In more “common obesity” types they tend to be polygenic, meaning it is affected by multiple genes. In 2007, researchers identified the first obesity-related gene variant called FTO found on chromosome 16. People who carry this variant tend to be at a 20-30 percent higher risk of obesity. Even though in these articles it shows that some people may be predisposed to obesity that does not mean that obesity is destiny. Meaning there are changes that can be made on a day to day basis to prevent obesity or obesity-related diseases. It is important to learn from any previous family medical history in order to prevent obesity-related diseases.





  1. This is an interesting topic to discuss in the twenty first century due to the increasing rates of obesity across the board. There has always been the debate of whether obesity is linked to genetics or if it is really due to environmental factors that lead to weight gain. I think it is important for more people to be educated on what you wrote about to understand that everyone is different. People carry weight in all different ways and a large portion of that has to do with their genetics and metabolism. Informing people about the truth behind weight gain could help discourage bullying and hate seen all over social media and bring about more understanding of what some people are struggling with.

  2. I think this is really important for people to understand that their family history is very important to how their own body will function. To know that you have a gene that makes it 20-30% more likely to suffer from obesity is something everyone with obesity in their family should get tested for. This could help prevent obesity with some of the people with this gene because they could start working with a nutritionist or being able to try and make healthier choices. There is still a large stigma around obesity and weight gain, but I think with this knowledge that some are more likely to have this gene it can help break the stigma and let people get the help they need without feeling badly or being embarrassed.

  3. I really enjoyed this topic. Recently there has been a large movement on social media in which individuals express bodily differences that are often seen negatively in society. Weight has always been a big social stigma and today more and more people are finding that their weight is difficult to control. At times this is because of a lack of education but its also because for some people their body naturally retains more weight. This article is important in that it highlights the ways in which this topic is more complex than will power, as many would like to believe.