The Fight against Obesity: Nature vs Nurture

The Fight against Obesity Nature vs NurtureIn the talk surrounding the origins of behavior, personality and intelligence, the debate of nature vs. nurture has always had a strong hold. There are some who believe fervently that attributes like these are inherited. You get your intelligence from your mom, your personality from your granddad, and your behavioral ticks from your aunt. It’s all genetic. It’s all in the family.

Then there are those who say sure, maybe you do get these attributes from your mom, granddad and aunt, but it isn’t built into your genetic code that way. Nope. Instead, you gain that intelligence, from your personality and have those behaviors because of how you were nurtured. Those people were big influences in your life growing up, so of course you modeled them and now have similar aspects imbedded in your own personality and behaviors.

In the argument surrounding obesity, nature and nurture take a front seat yet again in the arguments over the best ways to treat the issue, not to mention regarding what is causing the problem in the first place. It is well known that someone who struggles with obesity during childhood is significantly more likely to struggle with obesity into adulthood. It is also well known that having obese parents makes you more likely to be overweight yourself. But in both of these situations, the trouble with obesity could be related to genetic disposition OR learned behaviors. Nature vs. nurture—the argument seemingly can go on and on in a circle forever.

Recently, however, a breakthrough in research has made many obesity experts begin to think that your risk of obesity is actually a lot more nature than originally thought. Specifically, there is a receptor in the brain that appears to be directly associated with eating patterns. Researchers at King’s College London and Imperial College London found that rats who had the receptor FFAR2 were far more likely to overeat than were rats who did not have this receptor in their brain. With the receptor, carbohydrate consumption increased a whopping 130 percent!

Most obesity experts agree that nature and nurture likely both contribute to the risk of obesity, and so when it comes to losing weight you need to consider ways to address both of those factors. Medical weight loss strategies and weight loss surgery are helpful in combatting the biological causes of obesity, while behavior management can help you to reverse the learned habits that have encouraged weight gain in the past.

If you’ve struggled with obesity all your life, the reality is that losing weight is going to be an uphill battle, but weight loss surgery can help. Talk to your weight loss surgeon for more information.