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Walking may reduce genetic effect of obesity: report

March 21, 2012

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San Diego – Walking briskly for one hour per day may reduce the genetic effect of obesity by 50 percent, while a sedentary lifestyle can raise the effect by 50 percent, according to research presented March 14 at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting on Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism.

Researchers analyzed data on the physical activity and television-watching habits of 7,740 women and 4,564 men who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The genetic influence of obesity was measured through changes in body mass index, an AHA press release stated.

Walking briskly for one hour per day was associated with a 0.06 kg/m2 reduction in the genetic effect of obesity. However, the tendency for obesity was more pronounced in people who spent 40 hours per week watching television than those who spent one hour or less, according to the study.

Researchers concluded that increasing exercise levels and reducing sedentary behaviors may lessen a person’s genetic predisposition to obesity.

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