Something other than heredity should be suspected when, as is frequently the case, the family dog is also fat! The fact that everyone under that roof habitually eats too much shouldn’t be overlooked.
When we first began to suspect an overemphasis on genetics, many years ago, we undertook a health study of married couples which gave us a model for comparing the relative role of genetics and environment.
There’s a familiar saying: “If you live with someone long enough, you get to look like them.” That’s often true, but why? Physical similarities between spouses, we reasoned, had to be based on environmental rather than genetic influences, it being quite unfashionable even nowadays for men to marry their sisters (or any blood relative).
One of our earliest discoveries was that men and women married for some time tend to develop similar health problems. Husbands who get headaches are fre quendy married to headachy women; men who are overweight are likely to have wives who need to lose weight; thin men generally have thin wives. There were very few Jack Sprat couples among the hundreds we have studied.
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