How Big of a Role do Genetics Play in our Health?


Is the Deck Stacked Against You?

“Why even bother?  My parents were diabetics so I am destined for diabetes.”  Is a statement I hear far too often. It’s a statement said with sadness, a lack of hope, and depression. Fortunately, I have some good news for you!  You are not predestined for any disease. You can avoid those awful years you watched loved ones suffer through. Let's explore how this is possible.

Dr. Jim LaValle writes:

Some diseases are predisposed, meaning we obtained the genes for them when we were in the womb.  The genetic information has been passed on to us by our parents from their own health-related genetic information.   Some experts believe that around 25% of our health or disease is due to genetic inheritance.

In most cases, genes that initiate a disease are expressed or “turned on” during growth as a result of many lifestyle factors.  These factors during include environmental exposures, cigarette smoke, chemical pollutants, recreational drugs, some pharmaceutical drugs, nutrition, chronic stress, exercise, exposure to chemicals and solvents, pesticides and food preservatives.  

Bottom line is that our metabolic code, which develops during our lifetimes, must be in harmony for us to lead a healthy, productive life.  Over the years, as our cells begin to change during the process of again, the door to diseases is opened even wider. If there is a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, those genetic switches will be the most likely to get turned on when our metabolism becomes stressed.   That is why lifestyle choices can be so powerful in helping us to prevent diseases. Giving the body n extra boost with good nutrition, exercise and stress control can make all the difference between chronic illness and health. 

Let’s look at the same concept in the opposite way.   If chickens that have produced the most eggs bred with other MVP egg-producing chickens, you should have a genetically superior chicken who lays even more eggs.  That is what a researcher named William Muir studied.

Shawn Anchor, author of Big Potential, writes:

Find the chickens who produce the most eggs, take them and breed them with other higher producers to create a new generation of higher -performing chickens, repeat until you have the most elite chicken farm in the world.  At the same time, he kept a second “normal” group-a mix of both and low producing chickens - and bred them for seven generations. According to the theory of natural selection, one would expect that the last generation of the first group would yield a flock of superstar chickens.   Yet it didn’t. In fact, all but three of the hyper-productive chickens had been pecked to death. The chickens in the normal group survived. In fact, they produced 160 percent more egg than did the “MVP” chickens.

What can you do?

Genetics does not determine the overall outlook of your health. Your lifestyle will have far more of an effect on your health than genetics. Now, someone who has had heart disease or diabetes run in their family may be more vulnerable, but only 25% more. You control 75% of your health, if not more. Take control and start your day off with a healthy challenge and find ways to sustain a healthier lifestyle.

Steven Zahn

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Pre and Post Partum Certified

Dragondoor Publications: HKC


For information on 1 on 1 Personal Training or Nutrition Coaching, feel feel free to contact me at

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