Genetic susceptibility to the “obesogenic” environment: the role of eating behavior in obesity and an appetite for change

Genetic susceptibility to the “obesogenic” environment: the role of eating behavior in obesity and an appetite for change

The sudden onset of the obesity epidemic in high-income countries at the end of the last century coincided with major changes to the food supply, resulting in larger portion sizes, greater availability and affordability of energy dense foods, and increased marketing (1). Notwithstanding diminished physical activity levels, the modern food environment is deemed largely responsible for increases in obesity. However, despite the ubiquity of the “obesogenic” environment, we have not uniformly developed obesity. On the contrary, there is large population variation in adiposity. In fact, it is not uncommon for siblings living in the same household to be discordant in weight status, highlighting the considerable variability in susceptibility to obesity even among those exposed to similar environments.