Obesity is seen as the great pandemia of the XXI century. Recent data point to more than a billion adults in the world suffering from overweight, of which 300 million are clinically obese. What is more, the rates of child obesity show a worrying increase, with more than 155 million children and adolescents being overweight, of which 40 million are clearly obese.
Biologist Aline Jelenkovic analysed to what point corporal morphology was influenced by genetics, on the one hand and, on the other, by the environment. To this end, she studied nuclear families in Greater Bilbao, with children of between 2 and 19 years of age. She corroborated that the environmental factor influenced the amount of adipose tissue (tissue containing fat accumulating cells) very considerably and that this is, in turn, linked to blood pressure. Its control would seem, therefore, key to fighting against obesity. This is the conclusion of the PhD thesis, defended at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and entitled Body morphology, obesity and blood pressure in nuclear families from the Greater Bilbao area: genetic and environmental influences.
Genetics and the environment, both relevant
According to the data in the thesis, it is estimated that the characteristics or phenotypes defining the height, the shape and the adipose tissue of the human body are hereditary at a rate that goes from moderate to high (0.28-0.69). The environment also plays a relevant role. In fact, human morphology is partly determined by genetic factors and partly by environmental ones which occur in common in the corresponding phenotypes. The influence of both is notable in the phenotypes related to obesity, but it is also significant that genetics does not affect all of them equally.
In the concrete case of the phenotypes that determine adipose tissue, the hereditary factor is less and the environmental one gains importance. Moreover, the thesis explains that
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