How Gene Shapes You: Nature vs. Nurture – Gene Express

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How Gene Shapes You: Nature vs. Nurture

How Gene Shapes You: Nature vs. Nurture

Michelle Siao

Michelle Siao


In today’s fast-paced world, where convenience often wins out over careful choices, the challenge of maintaining a healthy weight is something many of us face. Countless people are dealing with obesity, working hard to shed those extra pounds, but often feeling like they’re fighting an uphill battle. It’s important to realise that managing your weight isn’t just about the choices you make in your daily life; it’s also connected to your genetic makeup.

The Growing Global Concern
The World Health Organisation (WHO) paints a stark picture of the obesity epidemic. Over the past few decades, obesity rates have surged globally, with adults and children alike falling victim to this health crisis. While we certainly must consider lifestyle choices in tackling this issue, it’s equally crucial to recognise that genetics is emerging as a key player in this complex puzzle.

The Role of Genetics
Our genes play a remarkable role in shaping our bodies and how they respond to external factors, such as diet and physical activity. These special codes hold some secrets about our bodies. Imagine genes as tiny instruction books tucked inside our cells. They’re like our body’s recipe cards, guiding how we grow, look, and even how we stay healthy.

Genes of Interest
Let’s meet the specific genes associated with genetic obesity risk:

  • FTO Gene: This gene has a big role in our adventure. If someone has two copies of it, they might weigh about seven pounds more than others. It’s like having a tiny weight-watching buddy inside!
  • MC4R Gene: This gene can be a bit mischievous. It can make the risk of getting bigger increase by 20% to 30%, making it a real challenge to keep fit.
  • TNF Gene: This gene deals with something called “inflammation.” Think of it as our body’s way of telling us when something’s not right. If TNF gene is different, it might affect how we stay in shape.
  • APOA2 and ADIPOQ Genes: These genes are like detectives, searching for clues about why some people might get bigger than others.

Family Matters
Genetics can even extend to family dynamics. Research from the University of Michigan shows that children with overweight parents have an 80% chance of facing the same struggle with weight. It underscores how genetics can be a common thread that ties families together in the battle against obesity.

A Lifelong Journey
It’s crucial to remember that genetics isn’t the only chapter in our story. Our choices in life also hold significant sway. The good news is that we possess the ability to influence the plot. Overweight and obesity, along with their related health concerns, are hurdles we can conquer with the right decisions and guidance. It’s a journey worth embarking upon with hope and determination.

Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle
Here are some practical tips, both for individuals with a genetic predisposition and those who simply want to embrace a healthier lifestyle:

  • Opt for healthier food choices: Minimise consumption of foods high in fat and sugar. Instead, focus on incorporating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole foods, and nuts into your diet.
  • Prioritise physical activity: Aim for at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity for children and 150 minutes spread throughout the week for adults.

In the pursuit of effective weight management, genetics is a powerful ally. Decoding your genes offers insights into your unique strengths and challenges. Combined with healthier lifestyle choices, it’s a path to a happier, healthier you. Genes set the stage, but your choices take the spotlight on this journey

Michelle Siao

Michelle has over two decades of experience in nutrition, product development, and consultation after graduating with a degree specialist in nutrition and community health. She has provided individual consultations to clients looking to improve their health through personalised diet, exercise and lifestyle.

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