In the U.S. alone, 39.8 percent of their population is affected by obesity. It is estimated that the annual medical cost of a person who has obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
Various risk factors come into play that directly lead to obesity – lifestyle and diet being the two most common. However, recent scientific studies have suggested that genetics may also play a significant role in determining why a person weigh so much.
It is known that genes can cause obesity in some disorders like Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. However, the mechanism through which we understand the connection between genes and obesity has not been established clearly. While genes may cause obesity, there are still other environmental factors leading to this assumption.
Some of the main factors that need to be considered are eating habits, dietary consumption, and lifestyle. With this, a study was conducted and published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition wherein researchers explored whether eating behaviors can mediate or modify genetic susceptibility to obesity.
The study is designed to determine genetic risk factors by calculating the BMI of 3515 and 2145 adults in the FENLAND and EDEN population-based cohort studies. Meanwhile, a validated questionnaire was also given out to pinpoint the eating behavior of these adults. Eating behaviors were classified into different sectors – uncontrolled eating, emotional eating and cognitive restraint.
Cognitive restraint was defined as a conscious effort to limit and monitor one’s food intake to achieve their desired weight. With the use of Sobel test, researchers tested and assessed the mediating effect of each eating behavior associated with BMI-GRS and measured BMI. The researchers tried to determine whether eating behaviors lead to a significant increase or decrease of the respondent’s risk of genetic obesity.
The results of the study indicated that the association between BMI and BMI-GRS are intermediated by both uncontrolled eating and emotional eating behaviors of both sexes. Meanwhile, cognitive restraint is not associated with this mediator, except among EDEN women population.
This means that genetic susceptibility to obesity has a direct link in one’s eating behavior and habit. Reigning in on the top tier of risk factors are uncontrolled eating and emotional eating behavior. (Related: Does Garcinia cambogia really help obese people lose weight?)
This proves that even though a particular person is genetically designed to be obese, healthy eating habits still plays a major role in determining how much a person weighs. This rang true among EDEN women in this study who practices cognitive dietary restraint.
In achieving one's desired weight and maintain be able to maintain good health, it is imperative to start with the basics of eating healthy. Daily exercise combined with proper diet can help combat obesity and other health conditions.
This study proved the assumption that people were not born to be fat and that with a little amount of hard work, genetics can no longer define a person – or weight, for that matter.
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