The Tie Between Genetics and Obesity

A female doctor is measuring the waist of a female patient in a pink shirt and jeans using a tape measure.

Throughout our lifetime, we meet people who seem like they can eat anything they want, in any quantity, without gaining an ounce of weight. On the other hand, some have been coined the ones who “look at food and gain weight.” Most of us, though, fall somewhere in between the two extremes.

Either way, it leaves many wondering if there is a predisposition to weight gain and if it’s tied directly into our genetics.

With over a third of all Americans categorized as “obese,” it’s essential to understand the connection between weight gain and genetics and recognize other factors that contribute to excessive weight gain.

At Beltre Bariatrics, we help you understand your unique cause of weight gain and its implications on your overall health while providing you with viable treatment options to help you live at a healthier weight sooner.

Do Our Genetics Cause Us to Become Obese?

The short answer is somewhat.

Although it has been proven that our genes do not directly cause us to become obese, they can and do increase our risk of obesity if we have a direct link to it in our genetic profile.

In fact, according to a Harvard study, more than 400 different genes have been linked to the causes of being overweight or obese. Still, only a handful appear to be significant indicators and cause severe impact.

Genetics play a role in our health-related conditions, including obesity, but the extent of risk differs from person to person.

For some with a genetic predisposition, their risk of becoming obese is only around 25% or lower, while for others, it can be as high as 80% or more.

The good news is that there are ways to determine how much of a contributing factor genes play in your life related to obesity.

How Your Genes Impact Your Weight

If you’re struggling with weight gain or have been living with obesity for years, your genetics will play a role in influencing how quickly you gain or lose weight. However, knowing exactly how much weight your genetics hold on your obesity label can be challenging to navigate.

Here are a few indicators that your genetics play a significant role in your overall weight:

  • You have been classified as “overweight” or “obese” for most of your life.
  • One or both of your parents are significantly overweight. Those with two obese parents are 80% more likely to become obese.
  • Many of your relatives on both sides of your family are overweight or obese.
  • You have trouble losing weight, even with increased activity levels and a healthy diet.

Conversely, your weight gain may not be as impacted by genetics as it is by lifestyle factors if

  • You are strongly influenced by the availability of food and beverages.
  • You find yourself overindulging in foods that aren’t necessarily part of a balanced diet.
  • You gain weight but can lose it quickly if you adjust your diet and exercise plan.
  • You regain weight during specific periods throughout the year, especially the holiday season, or when you decrease your focus on a balanced diet and exercise regimen.

What other factors can increase our risk of obesity?

While our genes play a significant role in many aspects of our health, they are not the only thing that determines our weight.

Other factors that can increase our risk of obesity include

  • Poor diet
  • Lack of regular physical activity
  • An increase in calories without an output of energy
  • Insufficient sleep

It’s also important to note that obesity can lead to a variety of health conditions and complications if left untreated. We encourage you to speak with a bariatric specialist to review your risks and get the treatment you need now.

Obesity Treatment Options

If you’re currently obese, bariatric surgery may be the best option for you.

With proven effects of significantly decreasing your body weight and alleviating other obesity-related health conditions, weight loss surgery can positively impact your life in the long run. Contact our team of bariatric experts today to determine if surgery is the answer for you.

Your health and weight loss journey matter to us; don’t delay care.

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