Genetics or Lifestyle?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 22, 2010 11:09 PM GMT
    As we look around and it seems gym memberships and actual gyms seem to increase so does the obesity rate. Even when looking at children; they battle obesity and type II diabetes now. That was unheard of even 20 years ago.

    I know the obvious reasons is that everything is computerized now, video games and etc. You hardly ever see kids outside playing anymore and etc. Its a shame really, but it really hits home when I compare the difference in my own family.

    I have one brother and growing up I was always the more active one, very picky about what I ate and how I looked, (of course I was the gay one right?) haha.

    My brother on the other hand could have cared less. He is 5 years younger than I am and even at an early age would eat himself to death and my parents thought it was funny at the time.

    Now that we are all older, I am no ripped model by any means but am still considered to be in average shape I guess. My brother is absolutely huge!! He is 5'10" and has to be every bit of 300+ lbs and is now having health problems.

    To take it a step further....My brother and I both have 2 sons and a daughter each.

    My 3 kids are very health conscious and lean and active.

    His 3 kids are hugely obese and etc. Even comparing our partners, my husband is extremely in shape and his wife/fiance is obese.

    If we came from the same genetics and etc how is it that we are so different and this has carried down to our own children? You can put our children side by side and just by looking at the body type, know whos kid is who.

    I find it amazing and astounding that it is almost a learned and taught behaviour. So is it genetics on his part he has passed down or just bad habits?

    I think it maybe a little bit of both, as I have to be very aware of my diet and activity level and can gain weight like crazy if not watched.

    Its amazing when you compare the children in just 1 generation of two brothers though.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 23, 2010 12:29 AM GMT
    Yup, I completely agree...

    it's the diet coke effect... I can have three big macs because this is a 'diet' coke, just like the I can sit on my ass all weekend because I spent an hour in the gym of friday.

    But no it can't come from genetics, because obesity has increased (approx) 10 fold in the last 40 years and the human gene pool hasn't changed. To answer your question your brother passed his lifestyle habits down to his kids and you passed yours down to yours.
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    Jun 23, 2010 12:32 AM GMT
    The 'nature or nurture' question is not always helpful... it may not be that clear cut.

    Obseity could be the result of environmental factors, lifestyle, genectics, and biological factors--all four could have some type of impact.

    Your question about genetics and comparing your brother's genes to your own is a fallacy.

    Obseity prevention is extremely crucial... and everyone has to do their part... even the food industry and big business. Obseity and food addiction are quite hard to fight and are different from other addictions.

    People don't need cigerettes to survive. People do not need alcohol to survive. People don't need recreational drugs to survive. But we do need food.

    I don't think this problem can be solely blamed on technology though. America's relationship with food has to change.
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    Jun 23, 2010 12:37 AM GMT
    Both my parents are overweight with diabetes, and my oldest sister is a bit of a chunker, even after she's lost almost 100 pounds on Weight Watchers. I think it's very different for men and women, I think you have to be super disciplined in both diet and exercise, and I also think you need the drive to want to stay healthy that will sustain you.

    Except for the few lucky fuckers that have perfect genes, can eat shit and smoke cause they run 30 min. a day and that's all the "health" their body needs to sustain itself, the rest of us need to constantly have that in mind...

    To what MsclDrew said earlier, maybe it should be "I can have a big mac cause I've had 3 diet cokes today" icon_biggrin.gif

    jk
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Jun 23, 2010 1:09 AM GMT
    According to the experts in human evolution and genetics, most humans alive today are the result of ancestors that were able to survive multiple times of famine. Those that could not survive the famines would die off from starvation and those that could store fat easily would be the survivors.

    So most people today are ancestors of those that could store fat easily. There are very few people today that cannot store fat easily and have too high of a metabolism rate. We all know perhaps one or two people that can eat anything they want and never gain an ounce of fat....but they are a rarity. The fact that the human race has the propensity to store great amounts of energy in the form of body fat does not mean we are all bound to be obese. If we grow up in an environment that teaches us or allows us to eat as much as we want then the threat of obesity is more real. The ability to overeat is becoming easier and easier for most of the U.S.

    So genetics plus environment seem to both be culprits in the current obesity plight.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Jun 23, 2010 2:07 AM GMT
    genetics play a large role in determining one's weight, but they rarely dictate a weight constant (in terms of obesity, they do with being lean). a person who is genetically predisposed never to be lean enough to have perfect abs isn't predisposed to be obese. i think people pull the genetic card too far. yes, they are people out there who have a hard time losing weight, but that doesn't mean you need to be 300 pounds.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 23, 2010 2:29 AM GMT
    calibro saidgenetics play a large role in determining one's weight, but they rarely dictate a weight constant (in terms of obesity, they do with being lean). a person who is genetically predisposed never to be lean enough to have perfect abs isn't predisposed to be obese. i think people pull the genetic card too far. yes, they are people out there who have a hard time losing weight, but that doesn't mean you need to be 300 pounds.


    I agree. I think people sometimes use the 'genetic card' too much. I also believe that some people wish to place 100% of the blame on the lifestyles of obese people--with some people, I think this tendency stems from society’s disgust with obese people (look at what some people on this site say about the obese).

    Diagnoses are only helpful if people use them in order to learn how to cope with any disadvantages described by those diagnoses. Genetics would not be an excuse for obesity... it'd be an explanation. It is then up to the individual to take that explanation, learn from it, and find ways to cope in order to lead a healthy life.

    I have been diagnosed with major depression, OCD, ADHD, SAD, and Dyslexia. These diagnoses do not define me nor do they give me permission slack or forgo my goals and aspirations--I know what I am capable of accomplishing in life. Rather, they have enabled me to seek proper treatment and have forced me to learn to cope with my disadvantages.

    Life is not fair... sometimes certain people have to work harder than others in order to achieve desired results.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 23, 2010 3:52 AM GMT
    OP in your case from what you described of your brothers eating behavior genetics has nothing to do with it..He's ate himself fat, his wife has ate herself fat and their kids have ate themselves fat. No mystery there.
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    Jun 23, 2010 10:54 AM GMT
    It's impossible to draw any genetic-related parallels in our family.
    Say my aunt is concerned with healthy lifestyle and looks stunning, but then my cousin was always involved into some kind of activity (like jujitsu and karate) but she's out of shape (not grossly out of shape, buuut...). My mother and I go the other way lol.
    On a side note, I was always thought to fill in the role of a 'big' protective brother for my (younger) cousin , but no... I can always count on her though; she'll kick some butt if someone's mean to me icon_biggrin.gif
    So, in my family's instance, one can't make the correlation between genes and lifestyle, but can definitely tell that we are related...
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    Jun 23, 2010 11:11 AM GMT
    Celticmusl saidAccording to the experts in human evolution and genetics, most humans alive today are the result of ancestors that were able to survive multiple times of famine. Those that could not survive the famines would die off from starvation and those that could store fat easily would be the survivors.

    So most people today are ancestors of those that could store fat easily. There are very few people today that cannot store fat easily and have too high of a metabolism rate. We all know perhaps one or two people that can eat anything they want and never gain an ounce of fat....but they are a rarity. The fact that the human race has the propensity to store great amounts of energy in the form of body fat does not mean we are all bound to be obese. If we grow up in an environment that teaches us or allows us to eat as much as we want then the threat of obesity is more real. The ability to overeat is becoming easier and easier for most of the U.S.

    So genetics plus environment seem to both be culprits in the current obesity plight.


    Yes, very good presentation.
    There are some other genetic conditions leading to obesity, but they represent only a very small propotion of obese. Peoples having it will tend to go obese even if eating little and starving all day long.
    It's hard to be obese, big social stigma, so the genetic argument is overused to reduce the guilt feeling : "not my fault, it's genetic".
    The overload of food advertisement, the fact calory packed food is often cheaper than healthy food, plus computers and game box having taken the role of playing outside for kids, all have a significant impact in obesity trend.

    Not to mention something that strike a foreigner visiting USA : in most places, it's difficult/dangerous to walk around, so people use car a lot instead of walking.
  • NursePractiti...

    Posts: 232

    Jun 23, 2010 11:22 AM GMT
    It's not just what we eat in the states, it's also what's IN what we eat. How many people actually read the stuff in our food? Do we really need corn syrup in everything, petroleum products, sand? (yes sand). Fraken foods don't help either and now people with allergies to these foods are being reported. When I have friends who move here from other countries I have actually watched them gain weight in a short matter of time. It's a combination from having to take a car to most places since we have no public transit in most cities, the amount of food available, and of course what is in the food itself. Until we change our attitudes in this country and demand change in what's in the food, the obesity problem with continue to explode.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 23, 2010 11:44 AM GMT
    But it´s made from corn, has no artificial ingredients and is fine in moderation...

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    Jun 23, 2010 11:59 AM GMT
    Genetics can be a cruel mother. Even in a litter of pups there are differences. Some of us are born to be patient and observing, others irrational and spontaneous. Our survival as a species was dependent on BOTH types of species. Your brother would have survived a famine, you would be best at strategy for a long life.

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    I have two brothers, one overweight the other a smoker and former drug abuser. I swear growing up I thought I was switched at the hospital because they were so alike and I was so different. We all grew up in the same household with the same parents.

    I am in shape, almost 60 years old, retired from a great profession and enjoying my life as a community volunteer. My brothers are both struggling to make ends meet and can't quite figure out how "I did this"

    I think you are NOT born with a blank slate. Genetics gives you a cruel roll of the dice. One sibling gets the smarts and patience, the other gets the

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jun 23, 2010 12:22 PM GMT
    Thanks for the thread like this. You could serve as examples for some study.

    I agree its really both, but lifestyle can aggravate (positively or negatively) to the point that everything changes.

    My older brother is an alchohlic, never exercises, is overweight, mostly because of a dozen cans of beer he drinks a day and is filled with resentment
    when it comes to me or probably anybody else.... and he has 3 beautiful daughters, one of whom is into exercise and looks great.

    You hear the stories about people who live to be 100 and sometimes they aren't into exercise... but I'd be willing to bet they have a history of long life and have done something within their own lives to help promote health and wellness.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 23, 2010 12:54 PM GMT
    Genetics! I am the only gay person in my immediate family.. and the ONLY thin one.. the rest are obese.. go figure.. I thinks its the gay gene! LOL
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    Jun 23, 2010 4:40 PM GMT
    I'm of the belief that genetics only determine how easily the body stores fat.
    It's up to each individual to know (or learn) how easily their body stores fat, and make dietary and lifestyle changes to control how much fat gets stored.
    There are a few cases where the person's body responds slowly to diet and exercise, but those are few and far between. The majority of people can be healthy (but not necessarily ripped) if they try.