Does Genetics Cause Obesity?

Like in case of any other ailment, obesity is the result of an interaction between the environment and the genes of individuals. The role of genetics as one of the causes of obesity is placed anywhere between 6 and 85 percent by science. Large number of research studies carried out on experimental mice have confirmed the strong role of genes in obesity. There are 41 locations in the human genome which can get altered and lead to the development of excess fat in the body. This article tries to gain further insight on the subject.

Leptin Molecule

What Research Has to Say on the Genetic Causes of Obesity?

  • While absence of a gene is called deficiency, a change in its structure is technically known as mutation.
  • Though both these events can lead to obesity, the former is rare and the latter is believed to be the major cause of this health issue.
  • Most of the genes associated with obesity are highly expressed or present in the central nervous system.
  • Proteins like GLP-1 and Leptin are released by certain genes which cause the obesity to sustain.
  • The Db gene is responsible for not letting the feeling of satiation to set in when obese people consume food.
  • The rate of metabolism is reduced in these people allowing the body to survive on stored fats by the Ob gene.
  • Some research studies have found that in 80 percent cases, the off-springs of obese parents are obese themselves.
  • According to the thrifty genes hypothesis, people belonging to certain ethnic groups are more prone to obesity.
  • The condition is one of the major symptoms of the range of genetic diseases and some autoimmune ailments.


Analysis of all these vital aspects regarding the genetic causes of obesity might lead to its single root cause in near future. Research efforts in recent times have increased and have become imperative because the prevalence of this condition has reached epidemic proportions all over the world.