UK scientists have found that the genes that can contribute to obesity can be counteracted by exercise.
Scientists at the Medical Research Council’s Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge discovered that exercise can work off around 40 percent of the extra weight an individual’s genes had predisposed them to gain, the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported.
In the study, the genes of more than 20,000 men and women aged 39 to 79 were analysed for the 12 genetic markers linked to a higher body mass index value (BMI) and obesity. A “genetic predisposition” score was then calculated for each person.
The individuals were also asked to fill in a questionnaire about their physical activity levels in their daily lives.
The researchers concluded that physical activity can reduce the genetic tendency toward obesity by 40 percent.
“Our research proves that even those who have the highest risk of obesity from their genes can improve their health by taking some form of daily physical activity,” lead researcher Dr Ruth Loos said.
Dr Loos said that we don’t need to be marathon runners to make a difference, every bit of incidental activity, such as walking the dog or gardening, counts too.
“It goes to show we’re not complete slaves to our genetic make-up and really can make a big difference to our future health by changing our behaviour,” she said.
The research is published in the online journal, PloS Medicine.