There has been much discussion as to whether an individual’s genetic makeup plays a role in determining metabolic efficiency, and influencing a person’s predisposition to obesity.
Certain populations appear to metabolize food more economically in order to survive in challenging environments with restricted access to calories. When those same people are exposed to plentiful quantities of high calorie nourishment, there is a tendency to gain weight.
Often, obesity runs in families. However, it is not always easy to establish whether or not this is because of shared genetic factors, or similar lifestyle issues. The results of various research studies point towards a greater influence from genetics than from the environment. For example, adopted children were found to be closer in weight as adults, to their biological parents, than to their adoptive parents.
Certain rare mutations in single genes can be responsible for obesity, but this represents an extremely small number of cases.
Fortunately, a genetic predisposition to obesity does not necessarily mean that a person will be overweight. Regular physical exercise and sensible, balanced, food choices contribute towards the maintenance of a healthy weight. Even small changes in diet and behavior can result in weight loss, and benefit the overall health and well being of a person.
It is hoped that further research will uncover clues as to why some people struggle to lose weight. It is apparent that obesity is linked to metabolism, and has little to do with personality or a character flaw. In the future, more helpful therapies for weight loss may be linked to obesity genetics, and the discovery of treatment aimed at appetite control, and metabolic intervention.