-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise can reduce a
person's genetic predisposition to obesity by 40 percent, finds a
new English study.
Researchers looked at 20,430 people in Norwich and focused on
genetic variants known to increase the risk of obesity. Most people
had inherited 10 to 13 of these variants from their parents, but
some had more than 17 while others had fewer than six.
The participants also provided information about their levels of
Overall, each additional obesity-related genetic variant was
associated with an increase in body mass index (BMI) equivalent to
445 grams (0.98 pounds) for a person 1.70 meters (5 feet, 6 inches)
tall. BMI is a measurement that takes into account a person's
height and weight.
However, this effect was greater in sedentary people than in
active people, the researchers found. For those with a physically
active lifestyle the increase was 379 grams (0.84 pounds) per
genetic variant. That's 36 percent less than the increase of 592
grams (1.3 pounds) per genetic variant for inactive people.
The researchers also found that each additional obesity
susceptibility variant increased the odds of obesity by 1.1-fold.
But this risk was 40 percent lower for active people compared to
inactive people, the findings revealed.
The study shows that adopting a healthy lifestyle can benefit
people at increased genetic risk of obesity, the authors
"Our findings further emphasize the importance of physical activity in the prevention of obesity," Dr. Ruth Loos, of the Medical Research Council's epidemiology unit in Cambridge and colleagues wrote in the article published online this week in PLoS Medicine.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a
guide to physical activity.
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