What plays a larger role in obesity? Genetics or Economic Conditions?

Over the past thirty years, the cost of fattening foods has decreased while the rates of obesity have heightened. It has been found that both genetics and the environment can have an effect on obesity, but which plays a larger role?

Dr. George Davis from the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and Dr. Deborah Good from the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise have joined forces to investigate this problem.

The investigators concluded that cost of food — rather than one’s genetic makeup — is a major factor in the decisions that lead to eating high fat foods.

“People get the impression that if something is in their genes, there is nothing they can do about it,” Davis said. “This gives us hope that people who are predisposed to certain types of behavior can overcome those impulses by using economic incentives.”

Read the full articles here:

VT News Article: Economic conditions may trump genetics when battling obesity

Published Manuscript: Effects of Incentives and Genetics on Food Choices and Weight Phenotypes in the Neuroendocrine Gene Tubby Mutant Mice