• Obesity: A Result of Genetics or Poor Lifestyle Choices?

Over the past one hundred years we’ve welcomed Australia’s economic growth and rising income levels, but is it a genuine reason behind our growing levels of obesity, or are we just getting lazy?

With developments in engineering and technology, we no longer need to physically plough fields, sow seeds, or reap and thresh by hand. We now have machines to do all of this for us.

The daily physical challenges of subsistence farming has been replaced by sedentary desk jobs, which require minimal physical effort to complete.

Put simply, obesity is a result of an imbalance of calories consumed and energy expended over time. Evolution can take thousands of years, so our bodies are not yet adapted to deal with the quite sudden changes to our lifestyle that have happened over the past century.

Modern food processing has also meant we have an abundant supply of calorie rich foods at our fingertips year round, where only two or three generations back in time we ate what we produced, and were not exposed to the high sugar and high fat ready-made foods that are available today.

However, there are more factors that can cause obesity than taking in more calories than we can burn. Some people have a genetic predisposition to gaining weight, so would easily put on weight while eating the same diet as a naturally skinny person who never seems to gain any weight.

Genetics are an important factor in obesity. If a person has the genes that increase the susceptibility for obesity then leading an inactive lifestyle and eating a poor diet will surely result in obesity for that individual.

Your metabolic rate will also have an effect on your chances of becoming obese. Our internal organs and bodily functions all need to be maintained by a regular energy source. Even when you are in a relaxed state, your body is burning calories, and this is known as the resting metabolic rate.

Those with a larger muscle mass will naturally burn more calories, but as the body ages and our muscle mass decreases our metabolic rate slows too. If we continue to consume the same amount of calories this will result in weight gain. For every pound of muscle that we lose, the resting metabolic rate drops by an average of 50 calories per day.

Boring disclaimer warning

This article was written by a Muscle Mayhem staff member. The information on this site is provided in good faith. Consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. All opinions expressed on this site are our own. Always seek professional advice before engaging in any physical activity or diet.