In the last few years, study after study has have linked genetics to obesity. Here are just a few of the studies:
PCSK1 Gene Variants Contribute to Obesity Risk in European Populations
And here’s the latest scientific gem:
In this latest study, scientists from the University of maryland looked at the common FTO (fat mass and obesity associated) gene variants that have recently been associated with high Body Mass Index (BMI) and obesity in several large studies.
Specifically, they investigated the effect that physical activity can have in those people born with the FTO gene variant.
A little background on the FTO gene variant:
The Amish were used because:
- They are a genetically homogeneous population.
- Their day to day activities provide a high level of physical exercise. This is due to the fact that the Amish don’t drive cars or have electricity in their homes, eschewing many of the trappings of modern life. Most Amish men are farmers or work in physically demanding occupations such as blacksmithing or carpentry. Women are homemakers who work without the aid of modern appliances and often care for many children.
The researchers tested the particpants for:
The participants’ activity levels were measured with the aid of accelerometers, worn on the participants’ hips.
The researchers gathered measurements of their physical activity over seven consecutive days.
Participants were classified as “high activity” or “low activity” depending upon their accelerometer readings.
The “high activity” group burned 900 more calories per day than the “low activity” group. This total translates into 3 to 4 hours of moderate intensity activity, such as brisk walking, housecleaning or gardening.
The researchers found that the Amish people with the FTO variant were no more likely to be overweight than their non-FTO carrying cousins….as long as they got their three to four hours of moderate activity every day.
Being born with a FTO gene variant does not guarantee a lifetime of obesity and diabetes.
The choice is up to you.