Here’s some intriguing new research that shows a kid’s hormones at birth may lead to higher risk of obesity when they get older.
One of the latest – say, over a decade now – areas of research into obesity is to look at the role of hormones associated with appetite and hunger. Leptin, a brain hormone, signals when fat stores are sufficient and tells you to stop eating so much. (Okay, I’m oversimplifying but it would be too difficult to share the full story, and I’m totally unqualified to do so.) Ghrelin, a stomach hormone, communicates with the brain telling you when to eat. It signals “hungry” while leptin signals “appetite” – how much to eat or not to eat. What happens if hormones are screwed up or if the receptors for them aren’t working right….or aren’t developed properly at birth? Well, it may be, if this research has anything to say about it, that such screw ups can portend childhood, and then adult, obesity.
So, does this exonerate obese kids or adults from liability and responsibility for their weight status? In some cases, yes – diseases exist that make weight management hard, either by driving food intake, weight gain, or appetite dysregulation. In other cases, tho, it’s about making choices. Until such time as there are mechanisms to separate out the potential factors behind one’s weight, it is the responsibility of parents and then of teens and adults to manage their weight in REASONABLE fashion.
That is, by simple rules of ingesting fewer calories and moving your body more regularly and vigorously so as to burn off excess weight and calories.
In the world of personal fitness training, esp in the world I live in – Nashville, it is our mission not to change one’s metabolism, for that is a fool’s errand; or to change one’s body shape, another fool’s errand tho it sometimes works for short periods of time; or to change one’s relationship with food.
At STEPS, I try to teach trainers and my clients or any interested in engaging with me on the topic, that exercise, fitness training, physical activity – whatever you want to call it, but essentially moving your body so as to stimulate cardiovascular and musculoskeletal improvements, is about health, not weight loss.
People don’t like to hear that negative talk, obviously, but the truth of it, supported by many studies and population-based surveys, is hard to dispute. However, those same studies, and more, show, without any negatives, that exercise promotes health and well-being.
If you are looking for a personal fitness trainer, look for someone who doesn’t make promises he/she can’t keep: it is you who are in control of food intake and even the most knowledgeable trainer can’t make you eat right unless you choose to do so. Look for a personal trainer who will encourage and motivate, educate and support you in making physical activity something you, if not enjoy, at least do. The hormones will most likely not be the reason for your weight gain…or loss. It will be lifestyle choices you make daily.