Obesity – Diet Choices and Genetics
Obesity – Diet Choices and Genetics
Making poor diet choices
It is clear that eating the wrong stuff on a frequent basis contributes to weight gain, poor diet choices that occur on a frequent basis can lead to weight gain. For example
1) Consuming large quantities of fast food or food that has been processed. It is known that these types of food can be high in fat and sugar
2) Excessive alcohol consumption. Although it may not be obvious, alcoholic drinks are high in calories. Therefore frequent heavy drinking may be associated with being overweight.
3) Frequently dining out. Eating out on a regular basis can be problematic in the longer term if the main meals are accompanied by a starter as well as a dessert. Often a dessert would be high in fat and or sugar levels.
4) Eating more than your body needs. Sometimes people over eat in social setting where they may consume large portions that are equivalent to what their friends or relatives are eating.
5) Consuming too many sugar based drinks, which includes soft, fizzy and non fizzy drinks as well as fruit juice that may or may not contain extra sugar.
6) As I have already discussed previously some people who are overweight or obese may suffer from low self-esteem or depression because they are overweight or obese. This is a potential vicious circle because there is a risk that the person may ‘comfort eat’ to try and compensate for their low self-worth and depression
I also looked at some statistics around childhood obesity earlier in this series. Research has shown that unhealthy eating behaviour and habits maybe learnt in families so eating habits learnt as a child continue into adulthood.
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle
In order to use the calories that you have consumed there is a need for physical activity. The reality is that many people have a sedentary lifestyle where they spend most of their day sitting in front of a desk or screen, on finishing work they then sit in their cars to drive home as opposed to walking or cycling. When they arrive home they sit on a sofa in front of the TV until it’s time for their dinner. After that they may go upstairs and sleep on their bed. Herein is the issue: there simply isn’t enough regular exercise built into the person’s lifestyle to help them maintain a healthy body weight. The UK government department of health recommendation is that adults should commit to at least 2 and a half hours of reasonably intense aerobic activity per week. This can take many forms such as fast walking (power walking), cycling, swimming or any other physical activity that causes you to breath faster.
Consider this if you split 2.5 hours of exercise over five days that works out to be 30 minutes of exercise per day. For overweight or obese people who have not exercised for a while it is important to start slowly and sensibly.
The genetics of obesity
The role of genetics in the development of obesity is not fully understood. This said we know that similar to other medical conditions there is a role that genetics plays in combination with the environment at future genetics we are carrying around leading clinical research studies to identify genes that predispose some people to gain excessive weight. By making these discoveries future genetics aims to help doctors identify both children and adults who are at greater risk of becoming obese compared to the general public this will then allow doctors to support people early on in managing the increased risk that individuals face. We would also share our knowledge with the public so that they are empowered to take better control of the risks that they face, and thereby live better lives.