September 9, 2008

Study Shows Exercise Combats Obesity Gene

Want to blame unwanted weight gain on your genes? The time old excuse is being challenged in a big way. U.S. researchers announced Monday that dynamic exercise can help people genetically prone to obesity stay trim and healthy.

The Amish of Lancaster County, Pa., are the focus of a scientific study on a general genetic variation that causes people to be more susceptible to gain weight. It has been discovered that the variant's effects can be stopped with a large amount of physical activity.

Dr. Soren Snitker of the University of Maryland, whose study will appear in the Archives of Internal Medicine says, "When we looked at the Amish who were the most active, there is suddenly no effect of that gene."

Scientists suppose that 30 percent of Caucasians of European descent have the variant, including the Amish, and this might clarify why a large number of people are overweight.

Researchers have focused on a collection of 704 Old Order Amish men and women in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Like many Amish groups, the members often do drive or have electricity in their homes.

Snitker said the group was offered a creative combination of activities, with several farmers still using horse-drawn plows, while others held conventional occupations, including factory work.

While physical activity is suggested for just all, the study on the Amish proposes that people with the variation should be  all the more alert about getting exercise.

"These findings emphasize the important role of physical activity in public health efforts to combat obesity, particularly in genetically susceptible people," the researchers said in Monday's report.

Snitker said the examination gives an outlook on how the "obesity epidemic" has grown.

The World Health Organization estimates that there are 400 million obese adults in the world. This number includes a third of all U.S. adults.


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