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Are People Always Completely to Blame For Their Obesity?

Is Having Negative Genetic Factors a Life Sentence of Overweight or Obesity?

What We Know:

What We Don�t Know:

Pharmaceutical companies are using genetic approaches (pharmacogenomics) to develop new drug strategies to treat obesity

Will pharmacologic approaches benefit most people affected with obesity?� Will these drugs be accessible to most people?�

The tendency to store energy in the form of fat is believed to result from thousands of years of evolution in an environment characterized by tenuous food supplies.� In other words, those who could store energy in times of plenty, were more likely to survive periods of famine and to pass this tendency to their offspring.�

How can thousands of years of evolutionary pressure be countered?� Can specific factors in the modern environment (other than the obvious) be identified and controlled to more effectively counter these tendencies?�

What It Means For You

  1. For people who are genetically predisposed to gain weight, preventing obesity is the best course.� Predisposed persons may require individualized interventions and greater support to be successful in maintaining a healthy weight.
  2. Obesity is a chronic lifelong condition that is the result of an environment of caloric abundance and relative physical inactivity modulated by a susceptible genotype.� For those who are predisposed, preventing weight gain is the best course of action.
  3. Genes are not destiny.� Obesity can be prevented or can be managed in many cases with a combination of diet, physical activity, and medication.�
  4. People who are affected with overweight and obesity are often victims of stigmatization and discrimination. It is time to stop blaming the victim.� Many obesity researchers believe that people who struggle with their weight are pushing against thousands of years of evolution that has selected for storing energy as fat in times of plenty for use in times of scarcity.� It is time to recognize their struggle, understand their challenges and support their need for lifelong efforts to achieve better health.

Previous: Does Your Weight Have You Low on Energy?

Adapted from: Obesity and Genetics:� What We Know, What We Don�t Know and What It Means


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