Toronto | Having a physically active lifestyle can blunt the effect of inherited obesity genes, a new study on people from different ethnic groups has found.
Researchers showed that a physically active lifestyle can substantially decrease the genetic effect of the major obesity gene FTO on body weight in a multiethnic population.
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 David Meyre, an associate professor at McMaster University in Canada.
Researchers looked at data from up to 17,400 people from six ethnic groups (South Asian, East Asian, European, African, Latin American, Native North American) who were recruited from 17 countries and followed for more than three years.
To strengthen the confidence in our results, we used both basic and precise (metabolic equivalent score) measures of physical activity, and we compared the traditional body mass index to the recently developed body adiposity index, said first author Hudson Reddon, a PhD student at McMaster University.
They analysed the impact of 14 obesity predisposing genes and found that physical activity can blunt the genetic effect of FTO, the major contributor to common obesity, by up to 75 per cent.
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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