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Genetics and the Onset of Obesity

A lot of our experiences over time are what form us into who we are today. While these external factors have a great effect on us, genetics also play a large role. Recent studies suggest that genetics can contribute to 40-70% of obesity. There are also around 50 genes that are believed to be linked to the onset of obesity.

One of these genetic factors may be a rare single-gene defect. Deficiencies in Leptin, POMC, or

MC4R could be indicative of these defects, and can lead to the onset of obesity as early as or before the age of 2. The defect causes damage to the system that allows your brain to recognize that you’ve eaten enough, which can cause a feeling of insatiable hunger.

While the single gene defects are rare, there are some more common genetic factors that can predispose someone to obesity. The fat mass and obesity-associated gene (FTO) for example is found in up to 40% of the population, and can cause many problems such as increased hunger, increased caloric intake, reduced satiety, reduced control over eating, and increased tendency to store body fat.

Although we can’t do anything to adjust our genes, there is no reason to let them completely define our life. It is in fact important to understand any predispositions you may have to obesity, but it is also important to understand that you can alter a lot of things in your life to help treat your condition. While adjusting your environment like diet and lifestyle can help, it is equally important to get professional help as obesity is a disease process leading to many complications if not treated.


Obesity and Genetics. (2019, July 12). Retrieved from

Hungry all the time?: About Insatiable Hunger and Obesity. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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