Obesity is a serious public health challenge in modern society leading to many metabolic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. Extensive researches have shown that obesity results from interactions between lifestyle and a person’s genetics. Specifically, certain individuals are predisposed to be gain weight due to their “obesity gene.” To combat obesity, doctors often recommend exercise, but it is not clear which kinds are best for curbing weight gain, especially in individuals whose genetics make them more likely to become obese.
For people who inherited genes that increase their chance of becoming obese, there is hope for keeping the weight off. A study by researchers from National Taiwan University, published in PLOS Genetics, identified the types of exercise that are especially effective at combating genetic effects that contribute to obesity.
The study included 18,424 adults, aged 30 to 70 years. The researchers examined the interactions between the individuals’ genetics and their self-reported exercise routines. Specifically, the researchers looked at five measures of obesity, such as body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and waist-to-hip ratio. They found that regular jogging was the best type of exercise for managing obesity. Moreover, mountain climbing, walking, power walking, certain types of dancing, and long yoga practices also reduce BMI in individuals predisposed to obesity. Surprisingly, cycling, stretching exercises, swimming and certain dancing did not counteract the genetic effects on obesity.
Overall, the study suggests that when it comes to obesity, genetics are not destiny, and the effects can be lessened by regular exercise. Previous research has shown that frequent physical activity blunts the genetic effects on obesity. This study added additional evidences that exercises can help to ward off weight gain.
Bottom-line, get out and get moving.
Thanks for reading.
Journal Reference: Wan-Yu Lin, Chang-Chuan Chan, Yu-Li Liu, Albert C. Yang, Shih-Jen Tsai, Po-Hsiu Kuo. Performing different kinds of physical exercise differentially attenuates the genetic effects on obesity measures: Evidence from 18,424 Taiwan Biobank participants. PLOS Genetics, 2019; 15 (8): e1008277 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008277