Obesity in America: Is it nature or nurture?

Obesity is a growing problem in America. Across the United States, the percent of people who are obese based off of their Body Mass Index (BMI) has increased from a general range of 10-14 percent in 1990 to a range of to 20-30 percent as recently as 2010.

Obesity in America is an ongoing problem
Obesity in America is an ongoing problem

Some people who study obesity point to nature, or the intertwining of an obese person’s genetics or biologic determinants. As of 2013, there have been seven “new” genes that are looked at to be the probable cause of obesity in humans. However, it is not these seven genes alone that are THE cause of obesity. Scientists believe this is just a small piece to a larger puzzle.

On the other hand, others believe it to be nurture, or the environmental impact that raises the likelihood of a person to be obese. Specifically, the abundance of high-caloric foods plus the decline of physically active lifestyles are two common things scientists point to.

Perhaps there is no one factor. Perhaps it is a combination of both nature and nurture.

According to Dr. Edie Goldbacher of La Salle University, “for obesity, genetics load the gun and the environment pulls the trigger.”

In other words, a person with a family history of obesity COMBINED WITH a person living in a food desert, or an environment where there is little access to healthy food, may have a higher risk of developing weight difficulties.

“Genetics DO NOT cause obesity… there are very few situations where you have a specific gene, and if you have that gene then you check it and you say, ‘ok you’re definitely going to develop obesity.'”

Dr. Edie Goldbacher, La Salle University
Dr. Edie Goldbacher, La Salle University

As of now, there is still no direct correlation between obesity and its cause. Scientists continue to analyze both the nature and nurture aspects as obesity rates continues to grow, especially in America.

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Obesity in America: Is it nature or nurture?

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