ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is obesity a disease?

Updated on July 16, 2011

I believe that obesity is a combination between genetics and lifestyle.  It is too easy to simply say that genetics, or lifestyle is the sole cause of obesity.  There is evidence that both are factors of causing obesity, or even anorexia.
     There is recently discovered evidence that suggests genetic predispositions can affect our weight and how much we eat.  Three known hormones that affect appetite are ghrelin, leptin, and obestatin.  Ghrelin which is secreted by cells lining the stomach and the hypothalamus in the brain,  has been linked to causing hunger.  When ghrelin levels are high in our body, we feel hungry.  After we eat, the ghrelin levels diminish.  Leptin and obestatin are hormones that suppress appetite.  These hormones are released by adipose tissue.  Studies conducted on rats injected with obestatin showed that the the rat's appetites were suppressed.  There are other hormones suspected of influencing appetite, and this is a growing scientific field. 
     Thyroid hormone has  been linked to controlling our weight.  The thyroid hormone affects our weight by controlling our basal metabolism.  It controls how fast, or how efficiently our bodies use our food calories.  There can be a 2.5 fold difference in what is considered a low normal thyroid level and a high normal thyroid level in our blood. Someone with a high-level thyroid would also have a fast metabolism. It is conceivable that people with naturally higher thyroid levels would be thinner, and vice versa. As a side note, having a fast metabolism would not be ideal in a situation where food is scarce. 
     Insulin can also affect our weight. It is needed for glucose to enter cells. Some people may produce more insulin than others and therefore the sugar enters cells faster.  They are then hungrier faster. If the sugar is not needed, it will turn into fat.
     Other hormones which could affect are weight are the sex hormones. Testosterone can increase muscle and estrogens can increase fat. Growth hormone may also be involved. In conclusion, there are many hormones which can influence body weight and appetite, and genetic predisposition plays a role in how much influence these hormones have for an individual.
      I believe our lifestyle definitely affects our weight. In America, I don't think we can blame obesity on some widespread genetic disorder.  We are genetically similar to our grandparents, yet they did not suffer widespread obesity. We are genetically similar to our counterparts in Europe, Asia, Africa, yet they don’t suffer from obesity like that present in the USA. We do not  have a scarcity of food, and we have machines to do some of the things that used to be done by hand. Our country is also “young”, compared to other countries and many developments are built around the use of cars. New developments do not have shopping areas in walking distance and often there are no sidewalks. We are constantly bombarded with advertisement for tasty fast foods, and at the same time, magic diet programs. While this may be a cause for some individuals to become obese, I still think that obesity can be controlled.  People with a slow metabolism can still fight obesity by how they live. It may be harder for them but it is doable. They may be genetically predisposed to be overweight, but if they change their lifestyle, they can at least try to prevent the progression from overweight to obese.
     In summary, there is growing evidence that hormones affect our appetites and weight, and we already know that lifestyles, what and how much we eat,  lack of exercise, etc affect our weight as well. 

Do you think obesity is a disease?

Do you think obesity is a disease?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)