Amidst the pandemic, there is a silent predator growing amongst the people across the globe known as obesity. It is not now that obesity has started to threaten the lives of people. 

Risks And Causes Of Obesity

Obesity directly or indirectly has been a common cause of death worldwide. According to a stat, obesity among people has grown over three times in the past four decades. This imposes a humongous threat to people’s well-being. 

The pandemic has just given a boost to the obesity rates wh which was not at all required. Following the guidelines of the lockdown, people have been home for over one and half years. 

Being at home and provided with most of the basic services, people had minimal physical movement and lack of proper nutrition and diet allowing obesity rates to jump off the roof. 

Obesity is linked to early death and is a severe public health problem, accounting for a large amount of the global non-communicable disease burden, which includes type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and certain cancers. 

Mechanical concerns caused by significant weight gains, such as osteoarthritis and sleep apnoea, also have an impact on people’s quality of life.

Obesity’s impact on communicable diseases, particularly viral infection, has lately been highlighted by the observation that obese people are more likely to be hospitalized and suffer severe sickness from COVID-19.

Impact On Children And Maturity

When kids consume more calories than they require, their bodies store the excess calories in fat cells for later use as energy.

Impact On Children And Maturity

They grow more fat cells and may develop obesity if their bodies do not use this stored energy. Now, talking about obesity in children. 

As a result of the early acquisition of risk factors, excess weight in children may raise the risk of heart disease during maturity.

Obesity in children has been found to have a significant impact on adult health, regardless of adult weight. 

Although obesity is usually a prominent symptom of these syndromes, the underlying genetic flaws are frequently chromosomal abnormalities that include several genes, making it difficult to pinpoint the precise processes that regulate body weight.

Obesity in children is also connected to serious psychological repercussions and a poor overall quality of life. Obesity is caused by a combination of food and lifestyle variables, but research suggests that obesity may also have a hereditary component.

Obesity is heavily impacted by genetics; existing research suggests that inherited factors account for 40 percent to 77 percent of the observed variance in human body weight. 

Do Genes Determine Obesity?

The simple answer to this question is no. No single factor can lead to or help in determining obesity. Obesity in fact is a result of numerous factors like nutrition and diet, environmental factors, cultural factors, and of course genetic factors. 

While environmental changes have dramatically raised obesity rates in the previous 20 years, genetic factors either protect us from or predispose us to fat.

Even though on its own, genetics cannot cause obesity it is important to note that genes do play a vital role. 

Many studies have proven that genes do affect obesity rates. Family, twin, and adoption studies were done to establish the genetic contribution to common obesity. Heritability has been found to be relatively high in twin studies, ranging from 40% to 77%. 

The quest for obesity susceptibility genes, on the other hand, has proven arduous. For the past 15 years, gene identification has been based on two broad genetic epidemiology methodologies (candidate gene and genome-wide linkage methods).

Obesity-related genes have recently been discovered thanks to genome-wide association research. 

Classification Of Obesity- How Genetics Come Into Play

Obesity is generally classified into two types based on the genetic influence-

  1. Monogenic Obesity, and
  2. Polygenic or Common Obesity.

Let Us Now Look At These Two Classifications In Detail:

  1. Monogenic obesity is defined as a type of early-onset obesity that is rare and severe and is linked to endocrine problems. Genetics has a large impact and is only a little influenced by environmental variables. 

Mutations in the leptin/melanocortin axis genes involved in food intake control (genes of leptin (LEP) and leptin receptor (LEPR), proopiomelanocortin (POMC), and proconvertase 1 (PC1)) or particular genes associated with these pathways cause this type of obesity. In the last few years, new mutations have been discovered.

  1. Polygenic obesity (also known as common obesity) is caused by a large number of polymorphisms, each of which has a minor impact. Polygenic obesity has a heritability pattern that is similar to that of other complex characteristics and disorders. 

Obesity has a polygenic base, which means that the precise set of polygenic variants linked to obesity in one person is unlikely to be the same in another obese person.

Some features can be explained by the existence of DNA variation in numerous genes at the same time. 

Common Obesity

Polygenic variations are any of a set of alleles at different gene loci that jointly govern the inheritance of a quantitative trait or affect the expression of a qualitative character.

Each allele is thought to have a tiny effect on quantitative traits, and allelic effects might be additive or non-additive. Many polygenic variations could potentially play a role in body weight management.

Does Falling Under The Monogenic Category Mean That You Are Destined To Be Obese?

Not at all! While these genetic factors might increase your appetite and bring down your metabolism rate you are not at all “destined” to be obese. 

Maintaining a proper nutrition plan and a consistently balanced diet, incorporating a healthy behavioral approach in day-to-day life, and a good enough physical activity cycle can help you stay on track.

If you still struggle to lose weight or fall into the obese category, you are advised to seek medical help as soon as possible.

Conclusion

The final verdict on genetics cause obesity is as follows. Genetics do play a deciding role in determining obesity. Obesity has become an undercover villain for mankind. 

Regardless of monogenic or polygenic, obesity can be treated with a proper nutrition plan. And if someone still finds it difficult to treat their obesity even after a proper nutrition plan, medical assistance can always be sought. 

Exercise is one strategy to counteract the gene’s effects, according to the latest results. According to the researchers, exercise reduced the effects of the variation by roughly 30% on average. 

Author

Isla Zyair is a registered nutritionist with more than 20 years of hands-on experience in plant nutrition and sustainability. She has completed a master’s in Sustainable Food Systems, at Prescott College. She is known for her love for green vegetation and has been a plant-based dietician. She has a love for natural food and has been living a vegan lifestyle. Isla lived with her parents. They were farmers who grew their own food living in the suburbs. She is a knowledgeable person who published books on Nutrition Eating Plans for Achieving Optimal Health. She is one of the most sought-after personalities on social media and has been part of books on nutrition.

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