The Impact of Behavior Genetics on Creating Healthy Habits to Improve Whole Health Outcomes
Impact of Behavior Genetics

Genetics plays a large role in our health as a whole. It is often noted that health is determined 30% by genetics and 70% by lifestyle. In contrast to medical genetics, the role of behavior genetics in disease prevention is not to determine whether someone is at high risk for a specific disease, but rather to understand what behavior-oriented metabolic genes we’ve inherited (30% genetics) and how we respond to such genes with our lifestyle habits (70% lifestyle). Instead of giving us a look into predispositions to disease, behavior genetics allows us a look into how to prevent disease through healthy behaviors. 

The Behavior Genes

At Newtopia, we test for 7 genes related to lifestyle behavior and health. These genes include a body fat gene, eating behavior gene, appetite gene, resilience to stress gene, caffeine gene, clock gene, and exercise gene. All 7 of these genes give insight into how a person may struggle with different health behaviors. For example, the body fat gene – otherwise known as the FTO gene – determines how easily people gain weight and break down fat. The appetite gene (MC4R gene) affects when a person feels full while eating. 

Understanding these behavior genetics allows a person to look into “the why” behind their behaviors – which is not only helpful in creating sustainable health habits but also empowering in taking hold of their health. While hundreds of genes are understood to alter behavior, Newtopia chooses to test for the genes with the largest and most compelling bodies of evidence of phenotypic expression from which information can be used to make actionable recommendations.

The effect of utilizing behavior genetics to generate whole health outcomes is clear – participants not only find success but are more engaged. 87% of participants opt-in for the behavior genetics test when signing up with Newtopia, and 70% remain engaged over 12 months. What’s more, participants who take the behavior genetics test experience a 25% higher weight loss, as well as a 1.2 times higher likelihood of reaching 5% weight loss – a clinically significant percentage.

Behavior Genes and Precision-Based Recommendations

What happens once the results are in? More personalized program recommendations can be provided to participants based on the inherited genes that may be playing a role in their body’s reaction to key pieces of a healthy lifestyle – diet, exercise, and behavior. These precision-based recommendations increase engagement, sustainable behavior changes, and, overall, reduce risk factors for chronic disease. 

While our genetics cannot be altered or changed, we have power over our lifestyle choices. Better understanding the genes that play a role in our behaviors empowers us to make pointed choices to counteract the potentially detrimental effects of those genes. Learn more about Newtopia’s solutions here.