Obesity is one of the main causes for many devastating ailments such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and sleep apnea. Sometimes, obesity can even lower one’s life expectancy. Initially, it was believed that obesity was due to conditions such as over-eating, a tremendous increase in the consumption of foods high in fat as well as foods with a high caloric value, lack of proper exercises, environmental factors, busy schedules, and other drastic changes in one’s lifestyle, but scientists have now discovered that obesity, to some extent, is due to genetic factors. In other words, studies reveal that one in eight people are genetically predisposed to obesity. Imbalances in the obesity gene are considered one of the prime reasons for the exploding increase in the rate of obesity. This gene controls not only body weight as well as fertility, but also plays a pivotal role in maintaining bone density.
It has been identified that more than 200 genes as well as gene markers are responsible for obesity. Among these perhaps the most prominent obesity gene is leptin, which takes the role of a natural bone inhibitor by conveying to the brain, that it needs to slow down the rate of bone formation. Leptin also plays a major role in maintaining one’s appetite as well as metabolism. It has been found that in people who are overweight, the level of leptin in the blood is quite high. A deficiency of this obesity gene may sometimes lead to several diseases or conditions such as overeating, impaired thermoregulation, a failure to complete sexual maturation, immune dysfunction, and a host of neuroendocrine abnormalities: all of these leading to tremendous weight gain. In addition, the obesity gene like INSIG2 (insulin-induced gene 2) may sometimes lead to excess fat production, thereby causing obesity.
Another prominent gene that is correlated with obesity is the FTO gene (Wikipedia: FTO is a gene on Human chromosome 16 which appears to be correlated with obesity in humans) which in turn is of two varieties, sometimes known as alleles, including those with one copy of high risk genes and two copies of high risk genes. The majority of people possess one high risk gene and one low risk FTO gene. There are also some people with both copies of high risk FTO genes. People with two high-risk copies are more prone to being obese when compared to those with one high risk copy. Studies show that people with both flawed two copy genes are at a greater risk for developing obesity. This in turn leads to a cluster of disorders such as Prader-Willi syndrome and metabolic syndrome. Further, variances in the FTO gene may affect one’s body mass index (BMI), thereby leading to not only adult obesity but also sometimes childhood obesity. Conditions such as type 2 diabetes and kidney disease, as well as the possibility of requiring limb amputations, are also the result of the variations in this type of obesity gene. Likewise, if left unchecked, it may sometimes lead to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in women, and in men it forms one of the major causes in developing prostrate cancer.
From the above discussion, it is evident that an imbalance in the obesity gene forms one of the major reasons a person might become obese at some point in their life. Studies even reveal that the obesity gene is sometimes passed on to subsequent generations. In most cases, genetic obesity is difficult to maintain. However, such methods as obesity surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, have proven to be beneficial in allowing a person to retain a healthier weight. Further, it has also been proven that a balanced diet inclusive of nutritious fruits and vegetables, as well as organic proteins, coupled with effective exercise plans helps people suffering from such problems as an imbalance of insulin as well as blood glucose, which in turn is one of the prime causes for obesity.