breaking news

Springfield man accused of choking woman driving with baby in car

Countering a familial chain of obesity; 4 ways

The factors that cause obesity to run in families are so powerful that statistics show 80 percent of those born to obese parents will struggle with obesity themselves.

“A person’s genetics and their family environment play a big role in whether they become obese,” said Chandan Gupta, MD, a family physician with Monroe Medical Center. “We know genetics plays a role, but research has yet to discover which gene is at the root of the issue.”

A person is obese when their weight is above the normal range. Weight is monitored by way of body mass index (BMI). A normal BMI is considered between 18 and 25. A BMI between 25 and 29 is overweight, whereas a BMI over 30 is obese.

Science has yet to figure out exactly what causes a person to be predisposed to obesity, but experience has shown that a person’s family dynamics may play a bigger role than their genes.

“Family environment includes what we eat, how we eat, our attitude toward food and our activity level,” said Dr. Gupta, who practices with Premier Physician Network. “Family stress is also another factor that can impact a person’s weight.”

A person learns behaviors and adopts lifestyles that are engrained in them as they grow up. Their ability or desire to shift these habits can be a challenge, especially for those who fear it might create a distance between them and the ones they love, Dr. Gupta said.

“It can be difficult, but it’s so important for people born with a genetic makeup prone to obesity to incorporate as many healthy changes into their life as possible,” she said. “It’s something that will not only make an impact on your own life, but also for generations to come.”

Dr. Gupta says the following steps can be a starting point for families prone to obesity.

A celebration’s centerpiece: Take a few moments to consider how big of a role food and eating play in family celebrations. Consider ways to lessen food’s role and think of creative ways to incorporate activity. Perhaps birthday parties traditionally held inside a home with a table of food can be shifted to a park where kids can run and adults can walk.

Protect family dinners: Families who sit down for a family meal together tend to be less obese than those who constantly eat on the run. Plan family dinners with recipes that include lean meats and vegetables. Make small, yet smart choices, such as swapping out soda for water.

“Research has found that planned meals have a higher amount of vitamins, minerals, calcium, iron and folic acid levels than those that aren’t,” Dr. Gupta said.

Limit recreational screen time: Our current lifestyle demands the use of screen time between work and social connectivity. However, families can create a big impact by watching how often they allow themselves to use digital devices. Dr. Gupta said those who limit screen time to 10 to 15 hours a week tend to lead healthier lifestyles. Consider the use of docking stations for devices with set hours they are required to be placed there.

Don’t discount stress: Stress can play a big role in a person’s eating habits. Unfortunately, families themselves can be a source of stressful relationships and situations. Be mindful of the role stress can play in overeating and mindless eating. Set up boundaries when eating such as being mindful of each bite or prohibiting yourself from eating straight from a bag or container.

For more information on obesity and families or to find a Premier Physician Network physician near you, visit

Premier Physician Network is one of the largest groups of pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, and urgent care practices in southwest Ohio. For more information, go online to

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

What is Earth Day? 5 things to know
What is Earth Day? 5 things to know

Sunday is Earth Day 2018, and more than one billion people across the globe are expected to celebrate with environmentally friendly events. But what exactly is Earth Day? Here's what you need to know: >> Read more trending news  The first Earth Day celebration took place 48 years ago, in 1970, after a devastating oil spill in America brought...
Did you want extra tarantula on that hamburger?

When it comes to food, there aren’t a lot of things I won’t try. But I draw the line at eating any species I ever had as pets. There are some exceptions. Although as a child I briefly had a pair of rabbits given to me on Easter, I eventually bent the rule and sampled jugged hare on a trip to England. And I will order duck a l’orange...
What is a ‘welding rodeo’? Here’s the unique way area students are reusing scrap metal
What is a ‘welding rodeo’? Here’s the unique way area students are reusing scrap metal

Students from the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center are gearing up for a unique fundraiser that will take their technical know-how to the next level. The SCCTC will host its sixth annual Welding Rodeo at the school today from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m and Saturday from 12 to 2 p.m. Juniors and seniors from the center will compete against each other...
‘Being LGBTQ is not an illness’: Record number of states banning conversion therapy
‘Being LGBTQ is not an illness’: Record number of states banning conversion therapy

A record number of jurisdictions this year are taking aim at conversion therapy for minors: an attempt to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity through tactics as obvious as hypnosis or as subtle as inducing shame.  Almost 50 bills have been introduced in 24 states targeting conversion therapy, which has been discredited by dozens...
The flip phone is the new protest statement
The flip phone is the new protest statement

NEW YORK — Exactly one year ago, Roman Cochet swapped his $500 iPhone 7 for a $30 LG flip phone. Overwhelmed by constant alerts, Cochet felt his time was disrupted, his creativity drained. His flip doesn’t do email, Instagram, Facebook, Uber or news alerts. The 30-year-old Parisian painter, who lives in Brooklyn, said he regrets nothing...
More Stories