Physical Activity Wins vs. the FTO Fat Gene

A famous quote says “If only fitness had come in a bottle, everybody would have a great body.”  But in real life, that is not to be the case. As a kid, you might have had hundreds of advisors around you, telling you the importance of a proper exercise. As you grew up, you might have read magazines and newspapers that tell you every now and then that exercise is the way of life.

The benefits of exercise are so many. It’s just not the physical benefits, but the mental freshness that it offers. Making you live longer, healthier and happier, exercise is one thing that has to be practiced right from your childhood. Be it your beauty, looks, strength, health, peace of mind or anything else, exercise does it all for you.

Here is yet another thing that proves the importance of exercise…

One reveals that overweight due to genetic problems can still be controlled by proper exercise. There has always been a misconception in this regard. Experts have claimed that we are not a slave to our genes when it comes to losing weight.

People with fat gene may tend to skip exercise believing that it’s the curse of their genetics leaving them feeling powerless over their excess body weight.  On the contrary, research suggests that those with the ‘fat gene’ can overcome their genetic predisposition with physical activity.

Again, the study does not mean people have to run a marathon to achieve their goals. Simple gardening activities or walking with your dogs outside can help in the process.

A recent study published in the journal, PLoS Medicine, reviewed the data from published research studies on the FTO gene variant and physical activity.  In total, the meta-analysis included data on nearly one quarter million adults from 45 studies and just under 20,000 children from nine studies.

Details of the FTO Gene Meta-Analysis

People with the FTO (Fat mass and obesity-associated protein) Gene are believed to consume 100-calorie-food more than people without it. In a week’s time this amounts to 2,100 calories, which is a meal consumed for a whole day.

Researchers in the Cambridge Medical Research Council’s Epidemiology Unit have examined data from 218,166 adults around the world with respect to their genes, weight and exercise habits. A number of study trials were carried on different people and that yielded an affirmative result. This result was used to find out each individual’s maximum genetic susceptibility to obesity. It also gave a brief idea on how men and women were active at home and at work.

[box type=”note”]The study also reveals that couch-potatoes with one copy of the FTO gene (measured by the amount of inherited genes into the new generation), incurs 30% higher obesity than the ones without it. But with regular physical activity, the difference in the obesity level was only 22%. This means exercise can peel off 27% of the FTO gene effect.[/box]

Those with a double copy of the inherited gene and the ones that did not care for exercise had 69% more chances of obesity than individuals without the gene effect. Again, it’s minus 29% for those who cared for proper exercise. This means, the efforts taken to burn calories in a genetically affected person should be more than the people without genetic effects.

The report summed up saying that the public opinion that genetically incurred obesity cannot be helped by exercises is incorrect. According to Dr. Ruth Loos, the leading author of the study, proves that even those affected with the highest risk of obesity owing to genetic reasons, can improve their health by undergoing some form of daily physical activities.



Sanjay Bojan, a blogger who writes on the current happenings in the market, technology, news, health service departments, and national health services.

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