Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences


The prevalence of overweight and obese individuals is rising. Between 1980 and 1990 there was an 8% increase in the prevalence of obesity. Obesity is associated with many diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Over $39 billion dollars is spent annually on the illnesses associated with obesity. Our American culture has been blamed for the rise in obesity, yet there are obviously many people living in the American culture that are not obese. Researchers have turned to genetics to explain this phenomenon. This article will examine the many environmental factors that contribute to obesity and discuss the research that theorizes that genetics plays a more important role in the development of obesity. Models of hoe environmental factors and genetic favors interact will also be discussed. Results would indicate that although there is a genetic component to the development of obesity, it is not known exactly how much genetics contributes. It seems that there is an interaction between the environment and genetics however it has yet to determined which is the most dominant. Dietitians and others working in the health industry need to be able to recognize and address both environmental and genetic favors to be effective in helping their clients lose weight.



Faculty Mentor

Noreen B. Schvaneveldt

Departmental Honors Advisor

Noreen B. Schvaneveldt