Disruptions in energy balance: Does nature overcome nurture?

Academic Article


  • Fat accumulation, in general, is the result of a breakdown in the homeostatic regulation of energy balance. Although, the specific factors influencing the disruption of energy balance and why these factors affect individuals differently are not completely understood, numerous studies have identified multiple contributors. Environmental components influence food acquisition, eating, and lifestyle habits. However, the variability in obesity-related outcomes observed among individuals placed in similar controlled environments supports the notion that genetic components also wield some control. Multiple genetic regions have been associated with measures related to energy balance; however, the replication of these genetic contributors to energy intake and energy expenditure in humans is relatively small perhaps because of the heterogeneity of human populations. Genetic tools such as genetic admixture account for individual's genetic background in gene association studies, reducing the confounding effect of population stratification, and promise to be a relevant tool on the identification of genetic contributions to energy balance, particularly among individuals of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds. Although it has been recognized that genes are expressed according to environmental influences, the search toward the understanding of nature and nurture in obesity will require the detailed study of the effect of genes under diverse physiologic and behavioral environments. It is evident that more research is needed to elucidate the methodological and statistical issues that underlie the interactions between genes and environments in obesity and its related comorbidities. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fernández JR; Casazza K; Divers J; López-Alarcón M
  • Start Page

  • 105
  • End Page

  • 112
  • Volume

  • 94
  • Issue

  • 1