Obesity is a result of chronic consumption of more calories and burning out less. Obesity is an epidemic and a public health concern as it leads to serious health conditions. We are surrounded by readily available high-calorie foods with limited physical activities. As a result, the population is prone to gain weight.
Now the question is, “is everyone around you obese?”. Certainly not. Different body differs in the way the food is absorbed to release energy. The genetic makeup plays a role to control energy balance. The interaction of genes with environmental factors increases the reading on the weighing scale.
Understanding the phenomena of genes and obesity
Fatty tissues, Pancreas, Digestive tract Via Leptin, insulin, ghrelin (sends signal to brain) Brain Instructs body to eat or not to eat
Here genes regulate the signal and response to eat food or reduce energy use, or the opposite. Several genes regulate the process of absorption, storage, and energy release from food. The motive is to protect the body against weight loss.
Our ancestors survived the occasional famines, with limited availability of food. Today the same genes are facing the environment with readily available foods throughout the year. So the gene that once saved the body is now a cause of obesity. This is known as the “thrifty gene” hypothesis which can be a reason for obesity. The presence of the thrifty gene increases the tendency of fat accumulation.
The speedy accumulation of fats in somebody is due to the presence of genes favoring the following –
- Desire to eat more
- Spending a sedentary lifestyle
- Not able to use enough energy from dietary fats
- Easily stores fat
Childhood or adult obesity comes from parental obesity
When both parents are obese, there is a high risk of a child developing obesity. The interaction of multiple genes with changing environmental factors causes childhood obesity. Obesity is generally due to the action of multiple genes but it may also occur with the change in single genes. In such cases, severe obesity is the main symptom.
Depending on the change in the number of genes, obesity is of three types –
- Monogenic obesity
- Polygenic obesity
- Syndromic obesity
It is a hormone released from fatty tissues. The hormone travels to the brain and attaches itself to its receptors. This makes the brain send a signal to the body about the amount of energy to be used and stored, causing a decrease in obesity. Some people with specific genetic makeup may have a deficiency of leptin hormone or its receptors resulting in obesity.
Obesity is an outcome of environmental factors, food eating habits, lifestyle, and genetic predisposition. It is well known that genes play a role in how your body stores and uses dietary fat. Obesity can be encoded in genes but fortunately, you can overcome it with lifestyle and diet modification.