Are genetic traits related to appetite capable of being passed down from generation to generation? In the classic debate of nature vs nurture, can nature’s genetics even over power nurture’s environment when it comes to generic factors which influence obesity? The findings of new research say that it’s possible.
At The Obesity Society’s annual meeting, Dr. Jane Wardle, PhD, presented data about her study evaluating the potential for appetite-traits to be inherited (factors such as feeling full, how much you enjoy food, and the speed at which you eat). With no change in our genes over the past several decades, it seems that our environment would be to blame for the increasing rates of obesity. There’s no denying that our food environment has shifted dramatically over the past 30 years, with more processed foods in our diets than ever before, and larger portion sizes. However, a recent study of adopted children showed that genes may play a larger part in our body weight than it would seem. The study found that adopted children’s weight is much more closely tied to the weight of their biological parents—even if they’d never lived with them–than the weight of their adoptive parents who raised them.
Dr. Wardle studies appetite factors starting in babies as young as 3 months old. She’s found that feeling full, enjoyment of food, and slowness in feeding all seem to be capable of being inherited, and these traits show up at an early age. Her findings are supported by previous research in animals. One study she referenced found that baby spiders’ meal-size preference is related to the mother spider’s meal-size preference. Adding to this idea of appetite being inherited – another study of adopted babies found that the children had a stronger food preference association with their biological parents rather than their adoptive parents. This was true even if the child was adopted right at birth. Fueled by this growing evidence that appetite is partially genetic, Dr. Wardle is working to figure out whether we can modify appetite or food preferences.
If anything is clear about obesity and weight, it’s that there are no easy answers or explanations; obesity is a complex issue. Seven out of 10 adults in the U.S. are now overweight or obese, which puts them at risk for a multitude of weight-related health problems. Here at WhyWeight, we have healthy, long-term and effective weight-loss solutions for any individual. Regardless of the past, the choice is yours to create your own success story and change your life. Some individuals may need to lose anywhere from 15 to 40 pounds, where the best option may be an incisionless procedure or our MyWeight Nutritional & Wellness Counseling. Others may need to lose more where our gastric sleeve and gastric banding solutions may be the best fit. Whatever your personal situation, we’ll work with you on an individual basis to create the best long-term weight-loss solution for you. Call us at 1-877-697-3001 or sign up for a free weight-loss seminar on our website. You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.