Body weight may be partially determined by your genes, however, it has been proven time and time again that exercise can thwart any extra pounds your body was born to pack on.
The latest study proving the power of an active lifestyle comes from the Harvard School of Public Health. After tracking the habits and health of 12,000 men and women, scientists determined that walking for about an hour a day can reduce the weight-promoting effect of certain genes by 50%.
In the first study to look at the effect of exercise at a genetic level, senior researcher Qibin Qi identified 32 genes that have previously been linked to body mass index, then compared participants' BMI to their weight-gene score — a measure of how many variants of the 32 genes they possessed.
The scientists then determined that BMI increased by 0.13 kg/m2 for every genetic variant. Those who walked an hour a day only had their BMI increase by 0.06 kg/m2, thus cutting the effect of the gene down by about 50%.
Conversely to those who walked, researchers found that for every 2 hours spent in front of the television, BMI increased by 0.3 kg/m2. The conclusion is kind of a no brainer, but people need to keep hearing it because obesity rates are only rising. According to Qi:
“We suggest that both increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior can lower the genetic predisposition to obesity.”
Basically, some people have a genetically higher risk of being obese, but it's nothing that can't be prevented with a healthy dose of diet and exercise.
[Image via Wenn.]