Environmental factors and genetics

Many of the factors that lead a person to gain excess weight are influenced by environmental factors and genetics.

It’s about the environment in which we live. The last century has seen a dramatic change to the way that we live our lives. With increased access to transport, food and many of us doing less active jobs, our modern lifestyles make it easier to gain excess weight.  

It’s about genes. More than one hundred genes have been found to have influence on our body weight. The effects of these genes are complex and likely to affect the way that the body captures, stores and releases energy from foods. Some genes can cause a person to gain weight more easily. Also, genes interact with our environment in complex ways to determine a person’s weight over their lifetime.

Genes do not mean that a person will inevitably become overweight. Although genes have an important part to play, they are only one link in a very complex chain. A person can be a healthy weight even if they have genes which mean that they can gain weight more easily than others.

Most people will not become overweight if they live an active lifestyle and eat a healthy balanced diet, especially if this starts early enough!

NSW Health

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