Physical activity overcomes obesity genes

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 6, 2008

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The effect of the genes that make excess weight gain more likely can be blunted by significant amounts of physical activity, according to a paper in the Sept. 8 Archives of Internal Medicine.

"Our study shows that a high level of physical activity can 'level the playing field,' equalizing the risk of obesity," said Soren Snitker, MD, PhD, one of the authors and assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Researchers analyzed the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) genes of 704 Old Order Amish in Lancaster, Pa., participants in the Heredity and Phenotype Intervention Heart Study. Genetic profiles were correlated with physical activity levels.

Those with variants of the FTO gene predisposing them to extra weight were more likely to have higher body mass indexes if they were not active. This genotype had no effect on men who burned an average of 980 calories a day or women who burned at least 860 through physical activity.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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