Fit and Well Logo

Our Policies About Us Contact Us

Home > Health > Health News > Health News: Thinness is something that you inherit

Thinness is something that you inherit

text reads HEALTH NEWS

Is there a "Skinny Gene"?

By | Updated .

checked symbolFact Checked

Fact Checked


All the content published in our website is fact checked to validate its accuracy.
Visit our guidelines web page to learn more about our strict processes regarding how we review our content's sources: reliable and reputable journals, media websites, universities, colleges, organizations, and professionals.
Our articles are based on scientific evidence, and the references are included in its footnotes, which are clickable links to sound scientific papers.

First published: Jan 28, 2019

Summary: Being thin is genetic

There is a genetic predisposition to being thin and avoiding putting on weight.

DNA Double helix
Slimness is in your genes

Slimness is, in part, the result of genetics

The study, published on January 24, 2018, confirmed that being thin, just like being fat, is due to the genes you inherited from your parents.

So slimness, just like obesity, is a matter of chance and is strongly influenced by the mix of genes that you received from your mother and father.

Obesity, which has been studied in more detail can be caused by over 250 common yet low-frequency genetic loci (loci is plural for locus, is a "marker," a specific physical location of a gene within a chromosome.)

Thinness, as defined by the World Health Organization, encompasses individuals whose body mass index or BMI is equal or lower than 18 kg⁄m2.

We discuss Body Mass Index on our "BMI" webpage:

Read More about BMI

> > BMI Calculator

The researchers took a group of 1,600 thin yet healthy individuals and compared their genetic makeup with another group of 2,000 severely obese subjects.

The comparison showed that:

  • Obese people had a higher chance of having genes linked to being overweight.
  • Thin people had fewer genes linked to obesity and therefore a lower risk of gaining weight.
  • "Skinny" individuals and obese people share several genetic risk loci, but slim people had genetic changes in some genes linked to obesity.

Food for thought

If you are slim, try to be less critical and judgmental about overweight people, you were lucky to inherit the "good" combination of genes, while they got the "bad" combo.

If you are overweight, don't despair, you can take action and work on your body weight: exercise and a balanced low-calorie diet can help you lose weight and keep it off. You are not predestined to being overweight.

The "skinny gene"

Research by Orthofer et al. published in June 2020 identified the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene (ALK) as a possible thinness gene. They also found that ALK increases energy expenditure, burns fat, and reduces weight gain (2).

Back to News...

> > News - Read more health and wellness news.

References and Further Reading

(1) Riveros-McKay F, Mistry V, Bounds R, Hendricks A, Keogh JM, Thomas H, et al. (2019). Genetic architecture of human thinness compared to severe obesity. PLoS Genet 15(1): e1007603.

(2) M Orthofer, et al. (2020). Identification of ALK in Thinness. Cell Vol 181:6. pp1246-1262. June 11, 2020. DOI:

About this Article

Thinness is something that you inherit, A. Whittall

©2019, 28 Jan. 2019. Update scheduled for 08 Sept. 2026.

Tags: obesity, diet, weight loss, health news

More Articles: Read on

dish with veggies and beef a healthy combination

Healthy Eating Plan

Eating a healthy diet will make you feel your best and keep you in good health. Follow this simple eating plan and include the right mix of foods and nutrients so you can feel energetic and accomplish your weight-loss goals.


orange juice, whole grain bread with seeds, blueberry, dry tomatoes and guacamole on a white rectangular dish

Breakfast and Weight Loss

Eat or skip breakfast? What is better for your weight loss plan? Those who eat breakfast tend to be slimmer than those who don't have it. Fast or feast?


pie-chart made of foods of each food group

A Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is made up of the right proportions of each one of the different nutrients your body needs. Learn how much of each food group you should include in your diet.


Health Advice and Advertisements Disclaimer

The material appearing on is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

We do not endorse products or services that are advertised on the web site. Advertisers and advertisements that appear on this website are served by a third party advertising company.


Our Social Media

visit our Facebook click to send us an e-mail visit our blog follow us on Instagram


Terms & Conditions

Privacy Policy

Affiliate Disclosure

Advertisement Policy

Don't Sell my Personal Information

Cookie Policy

Publishing Ethics

Editorial Guidelines

Medical Disclaimer


About Us

Contact Us


Site Map

Patagonia Wellness
Liniers 440, B1602 Florida, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Copyright © 2018 - 2023 Patagonia Wellness. All rights reserved.

Fit and Well: Health, Fitness, Diet & Food information website
Our website is a reliable source of up-to-date, scientifically proven information on health, fitness, wellbeing, diet, food, and nutrition.
Our mission: Educate and inspire with reflective evidence-based reasoning. Information and News that you can trust.

Last updated V.1