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Weight, Genes, Health, Ethnicity - The Genetic Connection

Written by Diet Bites


Genetics, Longevity & Body Weight

One of the questions that you have probably been asked when visiting your family doctor is, "Are your parents still living?"

You may have wondered why the doctor was asking you questions about your parents when you were there to see the doctor - not your parents!

The reason the question is posed is a key to your own health risks and is why it is generally asked at the time of your doctor's appointment.

This knowledge provides insight to the physician on health issues that may be hereditary. If both parents have certain health issues (which they probably inherited), the odds are strong that the bad genes were passed along to the offspring - BUT not always.

It's a bit like a very thin person having high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. One would think that a thin person would be immune to such health woes. But not always; and not if those genes were inherited from the parent(s).

The important point is to know your health risks and to adjust your lifestyle to help reduce your health risks. The bad news is that many of the factors that influence health are out of our control. The good news is that we can control one of the highest risk factors that contributes to a multitude of health woes - our weight.

The ethnic genealogical make-up is another factor that impacts a person's weight.

Some ethnic groups may have a more efficient rate of metabolism than other ethnic groups. Some ethnic groups tend to put fat on more easily than others. So ethnic background is something that indeed plays into the Diet Equation.

Weighty Issue:  "Both of my parents are overweight, including many people in my family. What are my odds of getting fat? Is there anything that I can do to prevent unwanted weight gain?"

In obese parents, those genes are some times passed along to the offspring. If this is the case, keeping trim can be an uphill battle. However, most of the time, regulating weight can be accomplished.

Both Parents Obese, Increase Obesity Risks for Children

As a child, when both parents are obese, the child often becomes overweight not only because of the genes, but because food is generally plentiful.

Or, the child may maintain a normal weight until young adulthood. Once the activity level is toned down, unwanted weight may begin to pack on, and if the parent(s) is obese, weight gain comes easily.

So keep in mind that if you are the offspring of an overweight parent OR if both parents are overweight, this will impact what you weigh, in addition to the amount of weight you may gain, and how quickly you gain weight. Therefore, keep a close eye on your diet and ensure that it's healthy.

Activity Can Put Our Weight in Balance

Make a point to remain active. Equally important is making time to relax and to enjoy the things that you like to do. If eating is associated with the activities that you like to do, employ healthy snacks.

It's okay to indulge every now and then as long as 'then' doesn't turn into 'now and now'.

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