Is Obesity Genetic? What Science Has To Say
Science has so much to say when it comes to the question “Is obesity genetic?”
For starters, genes do play a significant role in human physiology, adaptation, development, and even other aspects of life. To control food intake, the brain receives signals from fat tissue, the pancreas, and the digestive tract. Hormones like leptin, insulin, and ghrelin transmit these messages. The brain then coordinates these impulses with other inputs to be able to send instructions to the body. The result is either of two outcomes: consume more and spend less energy, or the opposite. Even the smallest alterations in these genes can influence their activity levels.
How Genes Predispose You to Obesity
Obese people are more likely to have multiple genes that predispose them to gain excess weight. The fat mass and obesity-associated gene (FTO) — present in about 43% of the population — is a considerable factor. Those with this gene may have difficulty limiting their caloric intake in the presence of readily available food.
The presence of this gene, as well as other genes, can result in:
- Increased hunger levels
- Increased caloric intake
- Reduced satiety
- Reduced control in overeating
- Increased tendency to be sedentary
- Increased tendency to store body fat