The 'Skinny Genes' Every Woman Wishes She Owned

woman wearing skinny jeansWe all know America has a ginormous weight problem, but one upshot of the issue is that it seems like there's a lot more research being done on the science of obesity. Instead of taking the easy way out and chalking our issue up to laziness and junk food, there are scientists interested in getting a specific read on why some of us are more prone to put on the pounds.

One of the newest studies definitely shines some light on the subject. Researchers at the University College London in the U.K. found that in more than 4,400 families with more than 7,000 children, kids with two thin parents were twice as likely to be thin themselves, compared to kids with two parents at the heavy end of a healthy weight range. And kids with overweight or obese parents were progressively less likely to be thin.

That in itself is interesting, right, but not exactly groundbreaking.


Most of us realize if a parent is overweight, their kid is more likely to be; if a parent is thin, their kid is more likely to be. But we tend to think more along the lines of our parents passing on behaviors or creating an environment that facilitated healthy weight maintenance or unhealthy weight gain. The genetic piece of the equation isn't always considered. But it SHOULD be.

No, "skinny" vs. "fat" genes aren't the sole reason we have an obesity epidemic. But they do factor into individual cases. Genetic issues can make permanent weight loss feel impossible for some people. Consider those of us who struggle with conditions like PCOS, NCAH, hypothyroidism, etc. These aren't impossible to overcome -- and they certainly aren't an excuse to throw in the towel or to skip the gym -- but they certainly make the process A LOT more difficult. And that's not something society and researchers can just brush aside, claiming, "Oh, your genes aren't your destiny, you can overcome it!" Tell that to a woman who eats a veggie-rich, healthful diet, while working out five times a week, but hasn't seen the scale budge in months. Whose TSH continues to shoot up no matter what drugs her doctors put her on. Or who can't conceive, because her hormones and, in turn, her weight seem to be conspiring against her. These women deserve more than a dismissive remark about their not-so-skinny genes. 

Thankfully, there are some experts who are working with people battling these very real genetic issues. There's an online community that lets users share tips and participate in research called the National Exchange for Weight Loss Resistance. With hope, these kinds of studies are given the credence they deserve and could soon lead to ways for us to work with -- as opposed to frustratingly against -- our DNA.

What do you make of this skinny genes study?


Image via Nikita Mehta-Nasta/Flickr

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