Nature versus Genes
People said that when Ben was born he looked like a baby sumo wrestler and weighing a whopping ten pounds! Both parents were obese and his father, a smoker had heart disease, and his mother had diabetes. His father was an accountant who owned his own business and was constantly working and seldom home. Despite his status, Ben was not proud of him. His mother was an attorney for a busy law firm in Providence. They lived in a middle class neighborhood in Cranston, a suburb of the city of Providence in Rhode Island. Because both parents led busy lives, Ben spent a lot of time with baby sitters or his grandmother who lived only few miles away.
Ben saw his world from the eyes of his parents, and thought nothing of his growing size. But as he grew older, he began to realize that he was different from the other kids in his third grade class. In fact, he had very few friends. He was a loner, and often the joke of other kids that were normal size. His family leisure time was spent eating out more than five times per week. His mother, Jane, hated to cook. So the family ate out a lot!
But Ben’s misfortune would change one day when a new family moved next door. Shortly thereafter, he met Eric who was shooting hoops with his father in their front yard. He was surprised that Eric wanted to play with him, and didn’t seem to bother about his image or race. Ben’s parents were white, whereas, Eric’s parents were African Americans. In his mind, he knew that the new kid on the block was different and not like the other kids in his neighborhood or school. They immediately took to each other. They both discovered that they liked the same things, even though they had come from different backgrounds. Just like Ben, Eric didn’t seem to fit in into a pattern that depends on what is called “cool” and in style. In fact, his role models were his parents. His father was a dentist and his mother was a University professor.
Eric was of the same age as Ben. They were both 9, but Ben was about twice the size of Eric. Unlike his own parents, Eric’s parents were slim and fit. They were health conscious and most of the time they ate at home. Eric’s mother enjoyed cooking, so that the family enjoyed delicious and healthy meals. Another difference between Ben and Eric was that his parents were physically active, and spent considerably amount of time playing together as a family. By all account they seem to enjoy recreational activities like soccer, football, basketball, and baseball. Whereas, Ben’s parents were couch potatoes who watched television and snacked on popcorn and chips with sodas when they were not working or sleeping. As for Ben, his main activity was to play video games or surf the web until he fell asleep.
Most of that changed as his friendship with Eric grew, and he realized that Eric was a positive influence. Eric style of teaching was to lead by example. Ben was certain that he could benefit from his relationship with Eric and his family. There lifestyle was by all account happy and healthy, and the complete opposite of his own family. In some ways, he yearned for something similar in his own life, but he knew his parents would not change their habits. They were content with a lifestyle that was sedentary and they liked to eat in restaurants and convenient foods that were fattening and sickening. He hated the fact his daddy smoked like a chimney and coughed all the time, especially in the New England winter. Ben had a grand idea, and he was a determined kid who didn’t want to become miserable like his parents.
On a brighter side, Eric, knew what Ben was going through and wanted to help and support him to live a healthier and happier lifestyle. So, began a relationship that would bring their friendship closer together like glue. Here is the real story of Ben who wanted to live, and grow up to be a healthy and happy adult.
DNA – Carries Genes, which are the Blue Prints of Life
This is a picture of a DNA strand. It carries the genes that Ben inherited from his parents and may have played a role in his own obesity and the chance of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer in the future. But the environmental causes, such as a high fat diet, excessive sugar, physical inactivity, pollutants, and gum disease may even play a bigger role – the good news is these are preventable or can be reversed with proper intervention. For Ben, the important thing is to acquire the right education and tools now.
The genes that you inherit from your parents can make you fat, but your lifestyle and environmental causes are far more powerful and predictive of obesity than probably your genes. Therefore, you do have a chance to prevent becoming obese and sick by living a healthier lifestyle – eating healthy, exercising, and keeping your stress level down.
The Book will be published soon. Meanwhile, you can read articles from excerpts posted here and on my website: www.ultimatehealthplus.com