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Nature vs. Nurture Essay

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Updated: Apr 17th, 2019

There is an assumption that individual’s intellectual and physical characteristics are, first of all, predetermined by their nature. Innate skills point to genetic code that a person inherits from his/her relatives. However, experience that an individual gains in the course of life shapes his behavior, outlook, and life position.

The new socially constructed patterns constantly change over time as soon as a new experience is obtained. Therefore, innate qualities could be modified to develop new perspectives and visions on various aspects of life, including health. Indeed, there are serious debates on to what extent heredity and environment influence our health and physical wellbeing.

On the one hand, heredity can affect our future endeavors and possibilities in life while considering such aspects as genetic history and predispositions for various diseases. On the other hand, individuals’ decision to smoke, eat vegetarian food, or go in for sports also change their health condition.

The nature side of the discussion focuses on innate characteristics and emphasizes how humans reveal biological qualities. At this point, genes can provide a solid foundation for individual’s aptitude to stand various diseases, such as heart problems, cancer, or allergy to various external stimuli. For example, multiple studies on obesity and predisposition prove the genetic heredity has a direct impact on obesity development (Li et al., 2011; Shengxu et al. 2010).

Specifically, Li et al (2011) assert that genetic information relates to the development of obesity and its influence on other disorders, such as type 2 diabetes. Additionally, Shengxu et al. (2010) examine the genetic susceptibility in relation to obesity to define that the physical exercises can attenuate the disorder.

From the nurture perspective, health conditions largely depend on external factors, including ecological situation, individual’s occupation, and his/her life habits. For instance, a person who smokes has an increased risk of lung cancer whereas a person who goes in sport will have a stronger physical fitness.

At this point, Kelsey et al (2012) insist that health conditions are largely predetermined by environment, public relations, and activities in which an individual is involved. Additionally, Yang, Matthews, and Shoff (2011) suggest that individual’s health can be significantly improved as soon as recent health care systems are rebuilt. As a result, people should be more concerned with the external environment possibilities to change their previous health conditions for the better.

Health disparities among races and nationalities are important issues that undermine the nurture side of the debate. Bar-Haim et al. (2008) focus on the relation between race characteristics and health conditions.

The scholars explain that Caucasians living in an alien environment experience challenges in terms of cultural and society, which leads to the assumption that own-race environment is preferable for comfortable existence of one race. To support the issue, Fotaki (2011) reveals that both genetic information and external environment are equally important for individual’s physical and mental wellbeing.

In conclusion, the debates on nature versus nurture reveal that both innate health conditions and external factors shape the outcomes for physical and mental wellbeing of an individual. Specifically, genetic heredity predetermines the initial conditions under which a person react to an environment whereas nurture issue defines further actions that can help an individual to adapt to a new setting and develop new aptitudes. Therefore, it is highly important to strike the balance between these two driving forces.


Bar-Haim, Y., Ziv, T., Lamy, D., & Hodes, R. M. (2008). Nature and Nurture in Own-Race Face Processing. Psychological Science (Wiley-Blackwell), 17(2), 159-163.

Fotaki, M. (2011). Agency versus structure or nature versus nurture: When the new Twist on an old debate is not that new after all. A commentary on Angel. Social Science & Medicine. 1-4.

Kelsey, J. L., Procter-Gray, E., Hannan, M. T., & Wenjun, L. (2012). Heterogeneity of Falls Among Older Adults: Implications for Public Health Prevention. American Journal Of Public Health, 102(11), 2149-2156.

Li, S., Zhao, J., Luan, J., Langenberg, C., Luben, R., Khaw, K., &… Loos, R. (2011). Genetic predisposition to obesity leads to increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia, 54(4), 776-782.

Shengxu, L., Jing Hua, Z., Jianan, L., Ekelund, U., Luben, R. N., Khaw, K., &… Loos, R. F. (2010). Physical Activity Attenuates the Genetic Predisposition to Obesity in 20,000 Men and Women from EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Population Study. Plos Medicine, 7(8), 1-9.

Yang, T., Matthews, S., & Shoff, C. (2011). Individual health care system distrust and neighborhood social environment: how are they jointly associated with self-rated health?. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of The New York Academy Of Medicine, 88(5), 945-958.

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