The role of heredity in childhood obesity






A serious problem with many implications for the development, health, psychology and quality of life of children and their families is child obesity. It is now known that it is a multifactorial disorder, because a large number of factors are responsible for its appearance.

These include heredity. Indeed, in many cases we see that an obese child has overweight or obese parents, and research data show that the probability of obesity in children increases by 50% when one parent is obese and 80% obese when both parents are obese. How much is this a genetic background? Are the genes involve in a relatively small degree?

It is a fact that over the last decades more than 30 genes have been identified, linked to the body mass index. However, it seems that even the most “powerful” of these genes are just a small part of the problem.

On the contrary, a large share of responsibility is burdened by lifestyle habits, which have changed significantly in relation to older ones, as well as the environment where children grow up, which has been described by scientists as “obese”, by promoting “unhealthy” dietary choices and more physical inertia.

On the other hand, we should not forget that children do not only inherit the genes from their parents, but also adopt the same habits as those. Thus, the increased body weight of a child with overweight parents would be due more to the “unhealthy” eating habits and physical activity most likely to have all family members.

Therefore, it is important to remember that the issue of obesity is not “destiny”, since even if there is a genetic background that increases the predisposition, the way of life is ultimately the factor that will determine the outcome.