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Genes and obesity


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Genes and obesity – Are your genes helping you to lose weight or hampering your progress?

One cannot ignore the role of genetics while offering an explanation to the development of obesity. The genes can affect fat accumulation in a given environment.

The variation in how people respond to the same environmental condition like availability of fatty food, habit of overeating and physical inactivity, makes it plausible to believe that genes have a role to play as far as obesity is concerned.

It has been established that obesity runs in families. Though the genetic link has been established yet a major factor that contributes towards obesity is bad eating habits that prevail in the family.

The scientists have discovered two molecules - GATA -2 and GATA – 3, that control obesity. It is these molecules that control the production of fat cells in the body.

Scientists have also unveiled a gene which helps in burning excessive energy.

Despite these findings, scientists opine that genetics has 40% contribution in obesity. The rest is determined by an individual’s lifestyle.

Although currently everyone seems to paying a lot of attention to changes in food intake and physical activity as being the major cause for the prevalence of obesity yet we cannot overlook the biological factors that normally control body's weight and composition.

The Truth about Genes

Obesity is a rampant problem. It is present everywhere - in all races, in both the genders, across all age groups and across the globe. However, the socioeconomic reasons of its prevalence are different in different societies and cultures.

A look at the situation in both developed and developing countries will help us to put things in the right perspective.



Developing Societies

As the economies of developing countries will further grow, the obesity which is now prevalent among the rich and prosperous will gradually shift to the poor just as it happened in developed economies. Although researchers understand the societal forces on obesity, but it is not easy to reverse the growth of urbanization in developing countries, where this trend will grow even further in the times to come. Keeping in mind the toll obesity has taken on the people of developed societies, it will only be sensible that the developing societies take preventive measures to curb obesity at the outset, because evidences suggest that once obesity is established it is very difficult to treat or shall we say reverse it.

Developed Societies

In Developed economies there is an inverse relationship between socioeconomic status and obesity. If you belong to the high income group chances of your being obese are very less specially if you are woman. On the other hand in America, African-American women fall in the high risk group. According to American Obesity Association more than 50 percent of them are obese.

With 400,000 deaths per year attributed to obesity, it is a cause of concern for everyone. Those who fall in the high risk group like the African-American women, people of low socioeconomic status and suburban dwellers need to be more careful.

There is no wonder drug for obesity, the solution lies in changing your lifestyle by changing eating habits and increasing physical activity levels.

What are the dangers of being overweight? What role does your body type play?



Silhouettes and waist circumferences representing normal, overweight, and obese

Obesity is often termed as the root cause of most of the diseases. An obese person suffers both physically and mentally. It makes a person susceptible to various diseases like diabetes, stroke, heart ailments etc. As a Weight Loss consultant it is pertinent to inform the client about the various health risks.



Obesity increases the risk of health problems. Mild obesity i.e. a body mass index (BMI) of 30- 35, is less comparatively dangerous than morbid obesity (BMI 35-40) or malignant obesity (BMI 40+). We can say that a person who is 40 percent overweight is twice as likely to die prematurely as an average-weight person. Though the effects might not be visible immediately, it may surface 10 to 30 years of being obese.

It has also been found that basically there are three types of obesity:

Type I or the Pear Type - In this type of obesity the weight gain is below the waist area i.e. around the hips and flank area.

Type II or the Apple Type - In this type of obesity the weight gain is above the waist area. It is less dangerous as compared to the Type I obesity.



TYPE III – This type of obesity is perhaps the most dangerous one. The whole body from head to toe gains weight.


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