Genetics play an important role in who we are, but they don’t get to decide everything about our weight. While 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 background material in the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Researchers studied Amish adults who were overweight or obese. The study took a look at how lifestyle played a role in the person that had a genetic predisposition to be overweight or obese. The group was divided into people with high activity levels and low activity levels. The highly active group burned about 900 more calories per day than the lower activity group. That equals about three to four hours of moderately intensive physical activity, such as brisk walking, house cleaning or gardening, according to the researchers.
The study showed, as past research has, that people with certain variations of the FTO gene were more likely to be overweight. However, the researchers found that being genetically predisposed to obesity “had no effect on those with above average physical activity scores.”
By: Molly McBrayer, Clinical Manager, Roper St. Francis Bariatric and Metabolic Services