New Year's Resolutions: Fight Obesity Gene With Exercise

First Posted: Jan 04, 2016 03:54 PM EST

Genetics influence much of our weight and build. However, for those who are overweight or obese, new findings published in the journal Scientific Reports show that being physically active can help to ward off some of the increased risks that come with genes.

"This provides a message of hope for people with obesity predisposing genes that they can do something about it. Our body weight destiny is not only written in our genetic blueprint," said lead study author , David Meyre, an associate professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics for McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, in a news release.

During their research, study authors examined data of over 17,400 people from six ethnic groups (South Asia, East Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America, Native North America) who were recruited from 17 countries and followed for over three years.

They used both basic and precise measures to determine physical activity levels--meanwhile, comparing them to the traditional body mass index (BMI) of the recently developed body adiposity index. In total, they analyzed the impact of 14 genes linked to the predisposition of obesity.

Findings revealed that physical activity can blunt the effect of FTO-a major contributor to common obesity by as much as 75 percent.

"These promising results encourage us to investigate how additional lifestyle factors, such as diet, stress and sleep patterns, may impact the genetic predisposition to obesity," said Meyre.

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