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Physical Activity Trumps Obesity Gene in Study

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, September 09, 2008 2:29 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA & Prescription Drugs, Obesity, FTO Gene, Overweight, Genetic Predisposition, Exercise

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IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockPhoto / diet / author: saluha


Despite public efforts to promote good nutrition and physical activity, Americans are getting fatter. While genetics are a factor in obesity, researchers say, regular exercise and physical activity can trump the effects of a genetic predisposition to being overweight.

Researchers have found that variations of the FTO gene, significantly increases the chances of a person becoming obese.

The puzzling relationship between our genes and lifestyles, which can mean obesity for some and not for others, is yet to be fully understood despite several trials.

Researchers found that Amish people with the genetic variation were no more likely to be overweight than those who had the regular version of the gene – so long as they got three to four hours of moderate activity daily.

While health experts advocate physical activity for just about everyone, people with the FTO gene variation need to be especially mindful of getting adequate daily exercise. That can include simple activities such as gardening, brisk walking and housecleaning.

Researchers studied 704 Amish men and women, chosen because of the community’s relative genetic purities.

Participants were fitted with accelerometers to measure activity levels at 15-second intervals.

Of the men in the study, 54 percent were overweight, with 10 percent being obese. And approximately 64 percent of the women were overweight, with 31 percent obese.

Participants were split into two groups – high and low activity levels. The high group burned 900 more calories a day then the lower group, which is equal to about three to four hours of moderate to intense physical activity.

Several past studies have linked genetic variants to obesity, but none has been found to be the sole cause for the disease. Researchers found that being genetically predisposed to obesity “has no effect on those with average activity levels,” said lead author Evadnie Rampersaud of the University of Miami.

The findings suggest physical activity can conquer a genetic predisposition for obesity and may help to fuel the debate over whether changes in diet and physical activity can make the biggest difference. Understanding all aspects of the FTO gene is vitally important to fighting the war on obesity, say researchers.

The study appears in the September 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. #


4 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by Steve
Tuesday, September 09, 2008 7:04 AM EST

"The findings suggest physical activity can conquer a genetic predisposition for obesity"

As I always say to my wife - if weight watchers worked then every location would have lines.

This country has no answer to diet control or exercise regularity, so articles like this are as meaningless as saying quiting smoking is all about will power. Steve

Anonymous User
Posted by dakota
Tuesday, September 09, 2008 10:13 AM EST

Someone got paid to figure this out? Calories not burned = Calories to fat. Duh!

The reason Americans are fat is because they are lazy. Too lazy to cook healthy meals; they'd rather eat out a huge meal at a restaurant or order in a pizza. And to lazy to do any exercise like mow the lawn, take a walk, ride a bike someplace.

Posted by edwards
Tuesday, September 09, 2008 12:59 PM EST

Why bother with exercise when, according to recently published research in the journal Cell, mouse tests run for Shering-Plough’s drug AICAR prove one can get all the benefits of exercise from a simple pill. The drug’s chemical compound is readily available at chemical supply stores, so it’s going to be in hot demand from nutrition/supplement companies. A savvy marketer should buy the domain (web address) LINK and post consumer-friendly info on exercise-related health and lack-of-exercise-related disease… and the benefits of that little miracle pill that the Cell researchers are so excited about.

Posted by Alex Baran
Wednesday, September 10, 2008 6:02 AM EST

wow... I never thought an "obesity gene" actually existed... I read about the program to overcome that at LINK and it looks really hard - I don't know how many people could do that!

Comments for this article are closed.

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