First of all, previous studies have reported 49 positions along a chromosome where genetic variants are located. Furthermore, these genetic variants predispose individuals to higher waist-to-hip ratio – a measure for body-fat distribution. In fact, the World Health Organization defines abdominal obesity as a waist-to-hip ratio above 0.90 for males and above 0.85 for females. Regrettably, the higher the waste-to-hip ratio the greater the likelihood of diseases like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases.
Especially relevant, University of North Carolina researchers reported in 2019, of finding 24 coding variants or locations (from among the 49 genetic variants) along the chromosomes that predisposes individuals to high waist-to-hip ratio. Moreover, these coding variants influence not only metabolism but also regulate body fat tissue, bone growth and adiponectin. In fact, adiponectin is a hormone controlling glucose levels, in the blood, and breaking down fat.
Furthermore, these 24 coding variants help separate apple-shaped people with high waist-to-hip ratio from pear-shaped people with low waist-to-hip ratio. Regrettably, the excess fat around the abdomen is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
In fact, coding variations are differences within genes that have the potential to alter the way the genes and their proteins function. For instance, some of these variations are linked to processes that control blood sugar and fat metabolism.
First and foremost, there are two groups of genes linked to obesity. In fact, one group of genes acts on the brain by regulating hunger and satiety and thereby influencing how much you eat. While, the other group of genes work at the cellular level determining where, in the body, fat will be stored.
Also, while genes are involved in the development of obesity and where the fat is stored, there is strong evidence that environment plays a huge role. For example a sedentary lifestyle where sitting for long hours is a norm, there is little physical activity to burn calories and fat. As a result the fat remains or accumulates in the body.
Similarly, a diet of sugary, tasty, high-calorie, high-carb, and high fat foods with little physical activity adds to the fat already in the body while also increasing weight. As a result the waste-to-hip ratios increase.
In fact, genetic profile, has very little, if anything, to do with an individual’s desire to follow a sedentary lifestyle or the desired to eat unhealthy foods. Indeed, it’s the individual’s choice whether to engage in healthy physical activities or eating healthy foods. Moreover, there are many aerobic or cardio workouts to help boost a person’s cardiovascular fitness level. It’s just that genetic predisposition towards storing belly fat makes it harder, but not impossible, to keep a trim, heart-healthy waistline.