A new long-term medical study, published recently in PLoS Medicine, has determined that people genetically predisposed to obesity actually benefit more from exercise than people with no genetic predisposition. The study, led by Dr Ruth Loos from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge, U.K., evaluated more than 20,000 Britons aged 39 to 79. Researchers focused on persons with 12 genetic variants known to increase the risk of obesity, and calculated a genetic obesity-predisposition score for each individual. They then monitored the activity levels of each group based on their scores. Their finding showed that even those with very high scores for genetic obesity-predisposition showed significant weight control and health benefits from activity and exercise. In fact, the research showed that even moderate amounts of activity and exercise had significant benefits.
The main reason for these results is that people genetically predisposed to obesity have the most to lose (or gain) from exercise. The more someone is overweight the more they will benefit from exercise and weight loss. The problem is that many people equate exercise with a thin and sexy body. If they determine that this perfect look cannot be obtained they give up on exercising. The truth is those who are genetically predisposed to obesity will probably never have this type of body, no matter how hard they try. However, as the study shows, this should not be the reason to stop exercising. There are significant health benefits to exercise, even if the “perfect body” is never obtained. Being 30 or 40 pounds over your optimal weight is far better than being 60, 80 or 100+ pounds overweight. In addition, you will maintain far superior cardiovascular and muscle conditioning if you exercise on a consistent basis. You will also greatly reduce your risk of heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses.
This study should give hope to many people who believed there was nothing they could do to control their weight and their health. Although people with high genetic obesity-predisposition may never be thin, this study shows that they can control their weight within much healthier limits than was previously thought possible. Forget the idea of having a perfect body and do the best you can with what nature gave you. You will live a much longer and healthier life if you do.