Essay on Correlation Between Behavior Choices and Genetics

Published: 2021/12/13
Number of words: 776

According to WHO, modifiable behaviours such as alcoholism, tobacco use, unhealthy nutrition and sedentary lifestyles impacts health negatively by predisposing populations to non-communicable diseases such as cancers, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and many more hence increasing the disease burden and elevating the mortality rates globally. Additionally, passive smoking for instance in pregnant mothers may affect the growing fetus causing neurological problems, poor birth outcomes, childhood respiratory disorders and other tobacco smoking-related health problems.

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Genetics plays a role in the development of various non-communicable diseases such as cancers, hear6t diseases, respiratory diseases like asthma, obesity, diabetes type one also known as insulin-dependent diabetes to mention a few examples. As stated by Ezzati and Riboli,(2013), lifestyle choices such as tobacco use and alcoholism one to cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Additionally, gene mutation which may occur throughout our lives at all, levels may influence the health outcome as stipulated by Ezzati and Riboli, (2013) that neoplastic diseases are both genetically, environmentally or behaviorally influenced which links behaviour and genetics to non-communicable disease predisposition. A precise example is alcoholism and tobacco use which causes various cancers and cardiovascular diseases hence disease burden and increased mortality rates. Behaviour such as excessive use of alcohol and tobacco may initiate genetic changes like mutation due to oxidative stress caused by consumption of these harmful substances which later may lead to the formation and progression of neoplasms. Ezzati and Riboli,(2013).

The other relationship between behaviour and genetics I am going to discuss is sedentary and poor nutrition lifestyle and diabetes. As we know diabetes type 2 is primarily caused by defects of the pancreas thus becoming incapable of producing enough insulin to act on glucose and this is a high risk to individuals who are above the age of 40, alcoholics, obese and people with other underlying conditions such as cancer of the pancreas or other diseases. Whereas diabetes type 1 is primarily a genetic defect of the pancreas where the pancreas is unable to synthesize the insulin and the individual relies on the insulin short to regulate the glucose levels in the blood. As you can see type 2 Dm is directly influenced by behaviours while type 1 Dm is directly influenced by genetics and other aspects – you can deduce that alcoholism and tobacco use and other behaviour choices can change the genetic makeup causing mutation hence leading to any of the above-mentioned diseases like type 1 diabetes. To conclude, genetics, behaviour choices and environmental aspects are closely linked together and have detrimental impacts on health due to their causative effects of diseases like diabetes, cancers and others and one can trigger the other.

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This week learning was very educative and I learned a lot about non-communicable diseases and the predisposing factors to these diseases. I learned that lifestyle such as alcoholism, smoking, sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition to name a few plays a vital role towards one’s health. In respect to Mozaffarian et al, (2011) most of these non-communicable diseases must be controlled by alteration in energy consumption, food consumption or both. This unit on non-communicable diseases has led me to observe keenly what is entering my mouth and more importantly to exercise even more on daily basis, for instance, I have adopted a low sodium diet, low-fat diet and low sugar consumption to keep those diseases at bay. I would encourage others whether healthy or unhealthy to adopt lifestyle changes to achieve optimal health. Earlier, I thought nutrition and physical are only important in checking one’s weight to maintain a healthy body weight only to learn this week that the two contributes immensely in the development of various diseases like cancers, cardiovascular disorders and many more. Mozaffarian et al, (2011).


WHO, (n.d.). Non-communicable diseases. (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2021, from

Ezzati, M., & Riboli, E. (2013). Behavioural and dietary risk factors for noncommunicable diseases. New England Journal of Medicine, 369(10), 954-964

Mozaffarian, D., Hao, T., Rimm, E. B., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2011). Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. New England Journal of Medicine, 364 (25), 2392-2404

News Medical Life Sciences, (n.d.). Non-communicable diseases. Retrieved on 2021, August 9. News-Medical.Net.

Novelli, G., Biancolella, M., Latini, A., Spallone, A., Borgiani, P., & Papaluca, M. (2020). Precision medicine in non-communicable diseases. High-Throughput, 9(1), 3.

National Health Portal of India. (n.d.). Effects of tobacco on health. Retrieved October 13, 2021, from

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