Posted: February 16th, 2023
Obesity can be defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30. It has been hypothesized that genetics may contribute to an individual’s risk for developing obesity through heritability estimates suggesting up to 80% of BMI variation being attributed to inherited traits (Maes et al., 1997). The most commonly studied genes associated with increased risk for obesity include those involved in energy balance regulation such as leptin, insulin growth factor-1(IGF) receptor and proopiomelanocortin (POMC), however they only account for approximately 4 percent of individuals diagnosed with this disorder (Gross et al., 2003). While further research on single gene mutations linked to obesity continues, much of the evidence suggests that environment plays a larger role than genetics when it comes to causing this condition.
In terms of environmental influence on obesity, lifestyle factors such as physical activity levels or dietary intake could be considered contributing factors if not accounted for in appropriate management strategies (Kolodziejczyk & Piwonska, 2017). There is also evidence suggesting access disparities between socioeconomically advantaged or disadvantaged populations which could create inequities in treatment options available or decrease overall health outcomes due to limited resources available for preventative measures (Fontaine et al., 2014).
For other diseases such Alzheimer’s disease alcohol use disorder ,and schizophrenia , there appears less consensus regarding the contribution from environment verses genetics versus the role played by each contributor when these disorders occur together . For example , recent studies suggest “gene-environment interaction” whereby certain genes interact differently depending on an individual’s life experiences —such smoking habits —to influence development Alzheimer’s Disease (Lambert et al., 2018 ). Similarly , biological research examining familial patterns suggest hereditary influences play a significant role increasing susceptibilities towards alcohol abuse while psychological studies indicate social learning theories can cause substance misuse or abuse under certain circumstances secondary stressors like peer pressure(Hendershot & RachBeisel 2012 ) . Lastly in schizophrenia , twin studies conducted over several decades argue addiction involves inheritability yet cognitive behavior therapies suggest changes via altering thought processes concerning negative cognitions related mental illness might improve symptoms exacerbations along with pharmacological treatments(Luciano et al 2013 ).
Overall it is clear that each medical condition examined involves strong interplay between both genetic components along what outside influences from environment exist . As far as obesity , research indicates its prevalence likely result from combination multiple external stressors paired person’s unique biology—for instance varying genomic sequences involved energy homeostasis -suggesting modernized societal norms including food availability large portion sizes at reasonable prices predispose people into unhealthy diets leading overweight status eventually morbidity issues without proper prevention interventions place early detection systems place help reduce many chronic illnesses afflicting wide population groups today .
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