If you blame your genes for being overweight, take heart, you may be able to overcome their effect. A new study from Canada suggests that physical activity can substantially decrease the genetic effect of FTO, the major obesity gene. This theoretical approach to genetics proved to be true in a study of people from 17 countries around the world. The research team from McMaster University in Ontario analyzed data from 17,423 people from 6 ethnic groups including South Asian, East Asian, European, African, Latin American and Native North American who they followed for more than 3 years. The mean age of the study participants was 52.7 years. The investigators examined the impact of exercise on FTO and 13 other genes that predispose people to develop obesity. They found that physical activity can blunt the effect of FTO by 36 to 75 percent. To assess the link between physical activity and obesity the researchers used both basic and precise (metabolic equivalent score) measures as well as body mass index and the body adiposity index, a new and more complex method of measuring body fat. … from Dr. Weil, January 2016
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