A cohort study of 20,430 people living in Norwich, UK offers promising news in the fight against a genetic disposition towards obesity. It’s true that some people inherit genes that propel them into a state of obesity, compared to others.
What’s not true is that humans can do nothing about this unfortunate, inherited tendency to be fat.
The research, carried out by Dr. Ruth Loos from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and colleagues, published in PLoS Medicine suggests that the genetic predisposition to obesity can be reduced by an average of 40% through increased physical activity. via Science Daily
Researchers examined different genetic variants known to increase the risk towards obesity, assigning a ‘genetic predisposition score’ to individuals in the group.
Next, some people in the study got moving as much as an hour each day. Those who exercised an hour each day benefitted the most, reducing their likelihood of obesity by 40 percent, compared to the inactive group. Those with the greatest number of genetic variants towards obesity benefitted the most.
Translated to concepts we can understand, each obesity-related gene variant in inactive volunteers was associated with an additional 1.3 pounds in body mass for someone about 5 1/2 feet tall. In people who exercised, the extra body mass was 0.8 pounds, according to the report.
Without dieting and constant monitoring of calorie intake, as well as nutritional quality of calories, individuals with an inherited tendency towards obesity will still gain weight, even with exercise. But a 40 percent reduction in weight with an hour of exercise is tremendously significant for health reasons and also individual self-image.
The conclusions in the study result from an average 3.6 year survey of BMI (body mass index) results among the 20,000 participants and don’t represent a short window of results time.
These results are much more encouraging than a 2008 study suggesting that people with a genetic tendency towards obesity might have to exercise three hours a day to keep their weight and BMI in check.