Grandma’s experiences influence our DNA structure. The science of Epigenetics studies the chemical modification of genes and how the information in our genes is expressed and used by our cells.
The reason this concept of weight is important is that if grandma is obese that tendency is imprinted on her DNA and can be genetically passed to her descendants. (DiscoverMagazine.com) Epigenetics doesn’t alter the sequence but influences our gene expression.
A Redbook article (Wrangle Your Stress, Sept.2018) relates that when we’re stressed our body shifts into a fight-or-flight mode. This hormonal shift signals our body to conserve energy since we’re under attack; our metabolism slows. This situation also signals the stress hormone, cortisol which increases hunger motivating us to eat foods high in sugar and fat according to Jessica Bartfield, M.D., assistant professor in the Weight Management Center at Wake Forest Medical Center in North Carolina.
This theme of stress and survival imprints on grandma’s DNA and functions much like a stop light; turning “on” or “off” a particular DNA expression. So, if grandma experienced stress on a regular basis the imprint of obesity sits on her DNA and is passed on to her descendants as a potential expression.
An article in WebMD (July/Aug2018) relates that childhood obesity rates continue to rise in the U.S. The researchers voiced concern that excess weight has become so common that many parents may now see it as normal.
Another study noted in HealthyDay (Sep 19, 2018) relates a quote by Mark Eberhardt, an epidemiologist at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) “Diabetes remains a chronic health problem in this country, affecting some 30 million people.” This idea is reinforced by the fact that 1 in 7 Americans has diabetes, and many don’t know they have the disease.
Medscape Medical News Jan 20, 2017, cites that the epidemic of obesity is affecting society’s youngest members, driving up rates of type 2 diabetes from infancy to the college years. Severe obesity is a cause of type 2DM. Not the only cause, but a direct one. Increasing rates of obesity will lead to more type 2 DM.
Obviously, all of this medical research proves that obesity affects our DNA and the tendency for obesity can be passed on to our children who in turn can pass the tendency on to their children. “Therefore grandma’s experiences leave a mark on your genes.”
So, the question is do we wait to address the issue of obesity? Since there is scientific evidence that the altered trait of obesity can be transmitted to our grandma’s descendants is it time to integrate genetics into our weight management program? Waiting to make this change may ensure that the tendency for obesity keeps integrating throughout our coming generations.
Should we wait to act on the weight issue?