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NewsBites November 2017 Issue

Offset Obesity Genes with Physical Activity

Increased genetic risk for obesity doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become obese, and maintaining a more physically-active lifestyle may decrease the obesity risk contributed byyour genetics, says Lu Qi, MD, PhD, senior author of a recent study on the topic published in Diabetes and director of the Tulane University Obesity Research Center in New Orleans.

Qi and colleagues analyzed data from 9,390 female and 5,291 male health professionals. The researchers assessed changes in self-reported physical activity over five 4-year intervals. And they checked genetic risk of increased body mass index (BMI) and percent body fat, summarized as genetic risk scores.

The highest genetic risk scores for obesity and the greatest decreases in physical activity were associated with the greatest increases in BMI and, even more-so, with increases in percent body fat every four years. But, these changes were diminished by increased physical activity, especially in those at greater genetic risk. “Everyone carries some genetic risk for obesity, although to varying degrees, so increasing physical activity could benefit all,” Qi says.

To learn more: Diabetes, online July 2017

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