Nature Versus Nurture Obesity Homosexuality

The nature versus nurture debate has been raging for decades, with researchers arguing about the roles genetics and the environment play in human development.

Most researchers agree that many aspects of our personalities are influenced by a combination of genetics (nature) and our outside environment (nurture). However, there are some nature versus nurture issues that are hotly debated in the scientific community. Sexual orientation and obesity are two such issues.

The Nature versus Nurture Debate: Obesity

If a child has two obese parents, will he end up being obese? This is a question that many people, not just researchers, have asked themselves.

Many people who are born into families with a history of obesity will end up obese. After all, a person’s genes help determine his physical characteristics, including height, weight and hair color.

However, just because a person’s genes predispose him to a particular health condition doesn’t mean he will actually develop the condition. In fact, if a person knows he is genetically predisposed to obesity, he can take steps to avoid ever becoming overweight in the first place. This is where nurture comes into play. If the man decides to make healthy food choices and exercise, he can remain trim and fit even regardless of family history of obesity.

On the other side, a person who has two slender parents can easily become obese through lifestyle choices, including diet, alcohol intake and lack of exercise.

Although people have great control over whether or not they will become obese, many people in the public want to view obesity strictly as an inherited condition, thus taking the blame off of themselves. Interestingly, however, people are more likely to say the environment influences such traits as aggression and intelligence.

The Nature versus Nurture Debate: Homosexuality

One of the key nature versus nurture debates revolves around the issue of homosexuality. Many people in our society want to know whether homosexuality is an inherited trait or a trait that develops due to external factors.

The nature theory of homosexuality states that a person’s genetic composition is responsible for his sexual orientation. This theory suggests that there might even be a specific gene present at birth that predisposes a person to homosexuality. People who support this theory believe that homosexuality is not a choice.

On the other end of the spectrum is the nurture theory, which argues that a number of factors can cause a person to become homosexual. These factors include the following, among others:

  • environmental variables
  • parental variables
  • social variables.

The nurture theory suggests that a person is not born gay, but rather becomes gay due to outside influences.

Nature versus Nurture: Key Debates Continue

In our society, obesity, homosexuality and other traits that we don’t completely understand will continue to be studied. While many people would like to attribute these traits wholly to either genetics or environment, it is likely that, like many other human traits, both nature and nurture play a role.

Resources

Davis, K. (n.d.). Nature versus nurture revisited. Retrieved September 24, 2009, from the Nova Web site: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/genome/debate.html.

Socyberty Staff. (2009). Homosexuality: Nature versus nurture. Retrieved September 24, 2009, from the Socyberty Web site: http://socyberty.com/psychology/homosexuality-nature-vs-nurture/.

The Guardian Staff. (2008). US researchers find evidence that homosexuality is linked to genetics. Retrieved September 24, 2009, from the Guardian Web site: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/01/homosexuality-genetics-usa.