Is obesity genetic?
Obesity is a complex disease which results
from the interactions between environmental factors and hereditary factors. It is well
established that offspring of parents who are obese are more likely to be obese compared
to offspring of parents who are not obese. Now, there are some genetic mutations in patients
who are obese which are called monogenic and are very rare, for example, deficiencies in
the leptin hormone or the receptor of the leptin hormone. Leptin is one of these hormones
that reflect adipose stores within the body and if there’s an abnormality in this, patients
can be very morbidly obese. However, these monogenic mutations are rare
and the majority of the common forms of obesity are associated with variations in several
genes. This is also called polymorphism. Some of these genes are expressed in the brain,
emphasizing the importance of the brain in the regulation of appetite control. If you
do have polymorphism or variations in some of these genes that are predisposed to obesity,
what that means is that in an environment where there is plenty of food, you’re more
likely to put on weight and you’re more likely to be predisposed to obesity.
However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot lose weight or try and achieve weight loss
through lifestyle changes with support from health care professionals.