Is there an “obesity gene?”
Some people believe, if you have fat parents, then you will become fat as well. Others believe that there is an obesity gene. They believe a hereditary illness obesity can be passed down to children if it exists among immediate relatives and parents in specific. However, there are cases whereby children or siblings may be completely opposite. A child is born with tendencies to have a chubbier or fuller shape, while the mother or parents remain with a lean shape. The same can be said for siblings. One can be heavier in shape, while the other one slim.
It may also be important to note, that differences in height and physical features such as hair color and eyes may exist even in fraternal twins. This shows they could even be born together, and look different. This the bares the question, is there really an obesity gene, or is it speculation?
According to Wikipedia, Obesity is a medical condition and it comes into play as a result of the environment and some genetic factors. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that genetics do play a role in obesity. There are various genes that control appetite and metabolism and are predisposed to lead to obesity under certain conditions. Now depending on the population examined, the influence of genetics can vary widely. It can range from 6pc to 85pc.
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As recently as 2006, conclusive evidence was found to link 41 different sites on the human genome that have been linked to the development of obesity when a favorable environment is present. It is also fair to note that the involvement of genetics in obesity can be attributed to between 40-70pc. Being a very high percentage, it would not be wrong to say that there is an obesity gene. Some of these genes may also influence the obese individuals to weight loss and weight management. The genes that influence obesity in an individual are called obesogenic or leptogenic genes.
For a long time, obesity has been attributed to eating too much and not observing exercise, or a proper diet at all. However, now obesity can be rightfully linked to the evidence of genes causing this condition. The gene ankyrin-B could be causing millions of people globally to add weight unknowingly. Through the gene that causes fat cells to suck up the glucose faster than normal which results in individuals gaining weight to become double their size.
After research was conducted in mice to confirm this, when a metabolism is aging, or one is consuming a high-fat diet then obesity becomes inevitable. This is because ageing metabolism is often slower. Meaning food and sugar takes longer to be processed, hence the additional pounds. If the individual does not mindfully consume, then adding weight just becomes a natural case of cause and effect.
Fault-free obesity is the term being used by researchers while addressing the weight gain people experience from the obesity gene. The gene is believed to have assisted our ancestors during times of famine to store fats and prevent starvation. However, today with numerous fast food, and plenty of food found in the grocery store without much ado to actually do the sourcing, the ankyrin-B variants are now fueling the obesity epidemic. While we do have this fat storing gene, today it is not contributing to our survival. On the contrary, it is contributing to the risk of heart attack and heart disease among other illnesses. A paradox on its own.
This gene is present in every bodily gene and acts as a tether for important proteins to remain inside the cell’s membrane. However, beneficial as it was years ago. It has also been linked to a number of diseases including autism, diabetes, premature aging, an irregular heartbeat and muscular dystrophy (a condition where a body organ wastes away). This clearly presents the case that, human being indeed do carry an obesity gene.