Specific Exercises Can Help Those Predisposed To Obesity

People genetically predisposed to becoming obese may be able to keep the weight off by performing certain exercises. A study by Wan-Yu Lin of National Taiwan University and colleagues found that the effects of genetics can be lessened by several kinds of regular exercise. The results of their study were recently published in Public Library of Science (PLOS) Genetics.

The team of scientists identified six types of exercise that appear to be especially effective at combatting genetic effects that contribute to obesity. They reached their conclusions by tracking the interaction between genetics and exercise on five measures of obesity in more than 18,000 Han Chinese adults in Taiwan between the ages of 30 and 70 years old. Each subject was given a genetic risk score for obesity and self-reported the types and durations of exercises performed.

An analysis of the results found that regular jogging was the most effective way of counteracting obesity genes across all of five measures of obesity. The best ways of reducing body mass index (BMI) in those individuals were mountain climbing, walking, power walking, international standard dancing, and lengthy yoga sessions. The researchers wrote in their paper, “Our findings show that the genetic effects on obesity measures can be decreased to various extents by performing different kinds of exercise.”

There were some popular exercise types that didn’t appear to do much good for those with genetic profiles that make them more likely to be obese. Cycling, stretching, swimming, and console game Dance Dance Revolution did not appear to counteract genetic bias. Activities like weight training, table tennis, badminton, or basketball were not popular enough within the sample to be included in the data.

With obesity numbers rising sharply across the world, the importance of regular exercise cannot be understated. It is estimated that about 13 percent of the global population now qualifies as being obese based on generally recognized measures of obesity. Being obese increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and many other health issues.

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