Moderate Exercise may Alter Genes to Improve BMI

Certain genes in your body have a predisposition to obesity. In other words, your genetic makeup plays a role in how easily you gain and lose body fat. A new study shows that walking for an hour per day can actually reduce the genetic influence of these “fat genes” by up to 50 percent. The study findings were recently reported at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions.

The study, headed by Qibin Qi, Ph.D. of Harvard School of Public Health, consisted of 7,740 women and 4,564 men. The study compared physical activity and TV watching (a common sedentary activity). 32 established criteria were used to compared the genetic code of the participants.

Results showed walking for one hour per day reduced genetic effect on BMI while watching TV for two hours per day increased BMI. The average American watches four to six hours of TV per day, so these test results are using conservative numbers.

It’s no surprise that walking for an hour per day can help lower your BMI compared to plopping on the couch for two hours of Seinfeld reruns. After all, walking does burn calories. However, this is the first study to examine the issue at the genetic level. It proves that weight gain and weight loss occurs due to more than just an increase or decrease in calorie consumption.

The researchers don’t know exactly how these genes directly affect BMI. Qi states, “These genes were just identified in the past five years and the exact functions of the genetic variants are still unknown. Future studies will be needed to uncover the underlying mechanisms.”

Source: ScienceDaily

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