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A new study suggests that when a family history of obesity is present, people may believe that their genes doom them to become obese. For this reason, many people seem to “give up” and make poor food decisions, believing that their DNA has already predetermined their fate. People with an outlook that they are powerless to genetics are thought to engage in behaviors that provide short-term rewards, such as avoiding exercise and eating unhealthy foods.
The takeaway from this study is that doctors and nutrition experts need to fight the idea that weight is unchangeable to motivate healthy lifestyle choices. While we may be predisposed to genetics, we can still control our physical activity and environment.
These findings were published in an issue of Health Education and Behavior on September 8th, 2015.