Obesity is a disease that occurs when a person’s body accumulates and stores excessive amounts of body fat. It was once thought that only the modernization environment has impact on the rocket rates of obesity. However, recent studies suggest that genetics contribute to 40-70% of obesity with the discovery of more than 50 genes that are strongly associated with obesity. While changes in the environment have significantly increased obesity rates over the last 20 years, the presence or absence of genetic factors protect us from or predispose us to obesity.
There was three genes with clear functions being found to be associated with obesity, namely: Leptin, POMC and MC4R gene.
Nonetheless, the most common gene which predispose for people to gain excess weight still remains as unclear function. It is the fat mass and obesity-associated gene (FTO), which is found in up to 43% of the population. In the presence of readily accessible food, those with the fat mass and obesity-associated gene may have challenges limiting their caloric intake.
It is practical to test for the FTO gene and other genes and by knowing this can help you understand your risk for obesity and obesity-related conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
If you have genes that predispose you to obesity, are you predestined to develop obesity? No! While these genes can increase appetite and reduce metabolism, following a consistent treatment plan that incorporates effective nutritional, physical activity, and behavioral approaches can help prevent and treat obesity. If weight continues to be a struggle, consider seeing an obesity medicine specialist to help develop a comprehensive medical obesity treatment plan.