What Truly Causes Obesity? The Conflict Between Nature Vs. Nurture

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In today's society one may easily put the blame on environmental factor for why children are obese. However, do genes also play a major role in how a person's physical appearance is affected? The argument is do genes influence obesity more than the enviro

In today’s society one can easily blame parents for obese children due to of the lack of effort put into to keeping their children healthy. However is it truly the lifestyle that makes children gain weight or do genes play a part of the physical health of a child? It is true that “we are what we eat” but it is also true that we can “have our mother’s eyes.” When one begins to ponder this idea we wonder how much of each side is responsible for making America the overweight country we have become.   

                Environmental aspects can play a major role in how our health is affected in ways such as daily exercise and diet. One may believe that if someone works out on a regular basis, eats healthy, and puts forth effort that they would be in fit shape. However, this is not always the case because there are also people who have terrible habits but can maintain a fit physique. One may look at a person of this “luck” and wonder how is it remotely possible to look fit without putting effort into the task; this is where the role of genetics comes into play. There are genes that hold information that are passed on through DNA so that traits (characteristics) are either expressed or repressed in offspring. These characteristics can range anywhere from eye color to the level of enzymes a person has to break down food, a process known as metabolism. This process in the body is to give a person energy that can/will be burned off during the day. All the energy that does not get used can be stored into fat. One may think that if they are born with genes that lead to being overweight then why try to be in shape? Do not lose hope; there is plenty of reason to push for a healthy body and lifestyle.

                Statics show that there has been about a 15% increase in child obesity from 1985 to 2006 and that this issue has become more problematic in more than twenty-three states.  America’s numbers illustrate that two out of every three Americans is overweight.  The numbers are continuing to grow in children, which is alarming for the future because most of them will have severe health issues that could have easily been prevented. The overall numbers of obese children in the 1970s were less than 10% where as of 2004 the number is reaching close to 35%. The trend will continue to increase and at a faster rate, unless one begins to think of the nurturing aspect of raising a healthy fit child.

                The conflict has always been is nature or nurture more influencing on a child’s physical health. One may say that the numbers are quite alarming giving proof that nurture seems to affect physical health more. If a child were to have fast food cut out of the diet, more exercise put into a routine every day, and have motivation, they would be put at less risk for major diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease. The bottom line is that one can be born with genes that may lead to obesity but that is no excuse to not try to reverse the trend in a family line and become fit because honestly anyone can do it.


Sam Montana
Posted on Mar 9, 2012
Cassandra Hernandez
Posted on Mar 8, 2012
Sam Montana
Posted on Feb 21, 2012