Does Obesity Run in Your Family? Here's What You Can Do

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Does Obesity Run in Your Family? Here's What You Can Do

It’s no secret that obesity seems to run in families. In fact, studies show that children with overweight parents have an 80% chance of also being overweight.

But that doesn’t mean it’s your destiny. 

You may be surprised to learn that your genes play only a small role in your weight. Experts believe family dynamics and home environments have an even larger impact on your weight. 

What does that mean? You can reduce your risk of obesity, even if you have a genetic predisposition for the condition.

Dr. Adepero Okulaja knows that weight loss and healthy weight management aren’t easy, especially when considering your family history. That’s why she offers root cause medical solutions for total wellness at The Doctor’s House in Edina, Minnesota.

If obesity runs in your family, Dr. Okulaja often suggests taking these three steps to keep your weight in check.

1. Assess your family dynamics and environment

Genes help determine how your body stores and burns fat, as well as your general body type, and there’s not much you can do about that. However, the larger issue with obesity within families often lies with eating practices and physical activity.

The first step in taking action against obesity involves taking a good look at the eating behaviors and habits you grew up with. After all, the family environment is where eating practices and activity habits are modeled and learned.

Examples of family dynamics that can contribute to obesity in the long run include:

  • Using treats or sweets to reward good behavior
  • Having a “clean plate” policy
  • Restricting certain foods or considering them “bad” 
  • Eating processed or packaged foods
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle

Dr. Okulaja understands that taking this step can be scary and overwhelming, especially if you lack support from others in your family. However, learning to recognize the habits that increase your risk of obesity can help you make healthy changes going forward. 

2. Rethink your kitchen

Don’t worry; we’re not talking about a costly remodel. It’s far more simple — and delicious — than that. A healthy diet starts with the right food, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and wholesome, nutrient-dense items. 

Dr. Okulaja recommends replacing foods in your pantry that are high in sugar, calories, and fat. These items are also usually low in nutritional value. Instead, stock up on foods that pack a nutritional punch with every bite, such as:

  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Beans and lentils
  • Baked snack foods
  • Whole-grain crackers

And it’s OK if you don’t know where to start. Dr. Okulaja offers personalized guidance so you can adopt new healthy habits in the kitchen that last a lifetime.

3. Move your body

While you can walk into a grocery store or grab dinner in the drive-thru these days, your DNA is still hardwired to eat nutritiously — and burn some calories in the process. However, daily lives have become more and more sedentary, spending much of the day using a computer or other device.

Fortunately, you don’t have to start training for a marathon to keep your weight under control. And there are fun ways to get more active each day, even with a busy schedule.

  • Try a 10-minute workout
  • Take the stairs when possible
  • Head out on a walk with your dog, family member, or friends
  • Dance to your favorite music
  • Swap some screen time for a nature walk or bike ride

Not ready to give up your screen time? Use exercise as the perfect excuse to catch up on your favorite shows by lifting weights, doing yoga, or walking on a treadmill at the same time. No treadmill? No problem! Simply walk or jog in place instead.

If you’re new to exercise, Dr. Okulaja can offer pointers to get you started.

Does obesity run in your family? Contact The Doctor’s House by calling 612-333-4834 or requesting a visit online today. Dr. Okulaja can give you the tools you need to maintain your weight and health in the years to come.