Exercise Can Overcome Obesity Gene

Though genetics do play a role in obesity, a new study shows regular physical activity can blunt the impact of a genetic predisposition to being overweight.

Variations of a particular gene, known as the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene, are widely acknowledged to be linked with a high body mass index, according to the study.

Evadnie Rampersaud, MSPH, PhD, and colleagues examined how lifestyle affected the weight of people with a genetic predisposition to being overweight.

Researchers studied DNA samples of 704 healthy Amish adults, collected between 2003 and 2007.

Participants also underwent physiological tests, including a seven-day measurement of physical activity using an accelerometer, which participants wore on their body. The instrument measured activity level at 15-second intervals.

The participants had an average age of 44 years; 53% were men. Fifty-four percent of the men were overweight and 10% were obese. About 64% of the women were overweight and 31% were obese.

The group was divided into people with high activity levels and low activity levels.

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