What Role Does Genetics Play in Obesity?

What Role does Genetics play in obesity is a question I am often asked.

Well, What Role DOES Genetics Play in Obesity-

When a person is overweight or obese, there are many variables that contribute to the size of a person. The most assumed culprit of weight gain is the practice of overeating, but there are other factors that are easily dismissed by critics. One of these factors include the genetics of an individual. Genetics is the science of genes, heredity, as well as the variation of organisms found throughout the human body.

Science has proven that genetics does indeed play a role in the weight of a person. There are also certain genes that have been known to directly cause obesity. These such disorders include Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. You should know that gene do not always map out the future of an individualís weight. There are multiple genes that may increase some people to become more vulnerable to the obesity trend, but other factors such as eating too much or not exercising enough certainly contributes to weight gain.

The population of obese people who are affected by single gene disorders is small. When these genes affect a person, they are inherited in two main ways:
autosomal recessive or autosomal dominant. Below are a few inherited gene conditions:

Gene Product:   Leptin                                                                                        

Inheritance Type: Autosomal Recessive

Gene Product:   Leptin Receptor                                                                        

Inheritance Type: Autosomal Recessive

Gene Product:   Proopiomelanocortin                                                                  

Inheritance Type: Autosomal Recessive

Gene Product:   Human Homolog of Drosophila Single-Minded 1                        

Inheritance Type: Autosomal Dominant

Gene Product:   Prohormone Convertase 1                                                        

Inheritance Type: Autosomal Recessive

Gene Product:   Melanocortin-4 Receptor                                                          

Inheritance Type: Autosomal Dominant

When it comes to genetics and weight, we know that biological relatives can resemble one another when it comes to body weight. It has been shown that individuals with a family history of obesity may be more susceptible to also gain weight like their family members before them. What is not known is why biological relatives appear to be similar in body weight.

It is rare that people have mutations in single genes that create sever obesity that begins during infancy. When it is possible to study these individuals, information can be gained regarding the relationship between food intake and energy output. Scientists wish to study whether or not more obesity syndromes that exist which causes single gene mutations. They also want to explore the genetic similarities in obese individuals to learn about how they relate to the predisposition to gain weight. By learning more, a variety of preventions and treatments can be discovered or created.

Since there is only a small population of obese people who have been affected by the genetics of their family tree, it suggests that genes are not necessarily a fate that cannot be outdone. Obesity and the prevention of obesity can be aided with lifestyle changes and behaviors that include a healthy diet, increased physical activity, as well as medication. If an individual is predisposed to gaining weight, they should go out of their way to prevent weight gain, whether it is increasing the amount of exercise throughout the day or eating a balanced meal filled with fruits and vegetables. There are also drugs that are being developed to assist those who have a hard time losing or maintaining a healthy weight.


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