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Do Your Genes Make You Look Fat?

Weight Problems in Pembury

Weight Problems in PemburyWeight does not define a person, but it certainly affects how we perceive ourselves. It does not help that overweight people are often stereotyped as overeaters living a lazy lifestyle.

About 62.1% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese, says a 2013 data from the Health Survey for England. That means more than half of the population are suffering from the health risks and stigma associated with obesity.

Carrying that excess weight affects both the self-esteem and physical health, says TheWellsSuite.co.uk, exposing you to risks of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. Just when we think there is nothing good about obesity, experts argue that being overweight is more natural than being thin in revolutionary terms.

This raises the question of whether we should blame obesity to genetics or learned lifestyle. Is obesity nature or nurture?

For Nature

To argue the stance of nature and genetics, the key term is ‘predisposition’. Experts believe that about 80% of people have inherited genes that predispose them to storing fat for any foreseen danger, like a famine. Looking at the numbers (62.1%), this premise clearly has some merit.

Paul Zimmet, a professor and obesity expert from Australia says at least 50% of all obesity cases are caused by genetics. Healthcare professionals should address obesity as they would other genetic conditions, like high-blood pressure and depression.

For Nurture

The role of genetics in obesity was challenged when a British research argued that an active lifestyle can significantly reduce someone’s propensity to obesity. When trying to gain and maintain a healthy weight, they advise focusing on exercise, not genetics.

On the other hand, it is the ones prone to obesity who take more effort to burn fat and to control their appetites. Some genes prevent people from realising they are full while other genes mean an overweight person can exercise as much as a thin person, but burn less fat.

Regardless of whether obesity is an act of nature or nurture, experts urge the public to avoid fat-shaming. Society should stop judging an overweight person without knowing their background and health conditions, says Professor Zimmet. ‘Assuming someone is fat because they’re lazy or eat too much is just plain nasty.’

Surgery to the rescue

When dealing with serious weight problems, exercise and diet may not be enough. Some professionals consider bariatric surgery (weight-loss surgery) to help the morbidly obese, especially those at risk of developing type II diabetes. The person can lose about 50% of their excess weight and live on to leading a healthier, stricter lifestyle.