When it comes to obesity, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is there is a genetic component to obesity and there’s not much you can do to change your basic genetic makeup. The good news is there are things you can do to stop obesity even if you do have bad genetics. How strong is the genetic link to obesity and what specifically can you do about it?
Obesity and Genetics
The unfortunate reality is that over thirty percent of the population is now classified as obese and the trend towards obesity is growing worldwide. Because obesity appears to be nearing epidemic proportions, scientists are eager to determine how much of a role the genetics of obesity plays in the expanding waistlines of Americans. After studying the genetic makeup of obese individuals, they were able to come up with a gene variation that can account for some cases of obesity. This results of this study were published in the Journal Science in 2006. Individuals who have this particular genetic variation are twenty-two percent more likely to be obese as adults. This is the first time such a genetic variation has been identified which correlates obesity and genetics and it appears likely that more will eventually be identified.
Genetics of Obesity: Are Genes Destiny?
The good news concerning obesity and genetics is that even if you carry the genetic variation that increases your risk for obesity, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become obese. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in September of 2008 showed that even if you carry this gene, it can be offset with regular, moderately intense exercise. In this particular study, subjects, in this case Amish men and women, who did three to four hours of moderate exercise such as fast walking or fast paced house cleaning were able to maintain a normal body weight despite having the gene variation predisposing them to obesity. While this may sound like a great deal of exercise, having an active job requiring several hours of work per day or combining vigorous housework with a brisk walk would equal the amount of exercise in this study. When it comes to the genetics of obesity, it appears that exercise has definite benefits when it comes to weight control.
Obesity and Genetics: The Bottom Line?
Even if obesity runs in your family and you suspect you may have a genetic tendency towards this disease, the key is to take action and get moving. Schedule regular, daily exercise sessions and try to incorporate more exercise into your daily activities and chores. Instead of hiring a house cleaner, do your own house work and make it a challenge to see how fast you can do it. If you have a desk job, force yourself to take several brisk walks around the building on your breaks. Stop off at the health club for an hour on the treadmill on the way home. It may take some planning and extra work but making exercise a regular part of your lifestyle can enable you to achieve a normal body weight despite having a genetic tendency towards obesity.