Eating Disorders: Is it in the genes?

I have recently come across a fascinating article in the Summer 2010 Weight Management Matters newsletter published by the Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. Cynthia Bulik, PhD the author of this article entitled ” Nature and Nurture: A Contemporary View of Eating Disorders”, discusses the extent of which genes and the environment both play a part in the risk of getting an eating disorder . So here it is… if you have a genetic eating disorder gene passed down to you and you live in an environment which promotes caloric restriction or negative body image role modeling then…you may be at higher risk of developing an eating disorder compared to your identical twin who grows up in a healthier – non restrictive, positive body image environment. Is the environment a risk factor or can it be a protective factor to a loaded genetic gun? This is a new way to look at the family who has a member struggling with an eating disorder. Working with patients, this article will remind me to keep on asking about eating disorders in other family members besides the patient and also promote a protective family environment. A loaded genetic gun for an eating disorder does not have to be fired.