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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Does physical activity trump genetic expression?

The Institute of Metabolic Science in the UK report that even small amounts of exercise (30 minutes a day for 5 days a week) can counter the DNA predisposition to obesity. This physical activity can include walking the dog, gardening, or commuting to work by bike.

This study focused on the FTO gene which was first linked to obesity in 2007; people with this gene were measured to have a 30% higher risk of obesity. This gene is common: 74% Europeans, 76% African Americans, and 44% of Asian descent carry this gene.

They found that if people exercised the risk of obesity could drop by 27%.

In order to confirm this statistic, the researchers went back to all FTO gene studies (both published and unpublished) in order to standarize the data.  They found that more than one hour of moderate to vigorous activity a week, was enough to influence this particular gene.

The researchers were not able to determine how exercise trumped the effects of genes, just that it did.        

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