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In The News: Genetics? Environment? Why Not A Little Bit Of Both?

Posted Sep 09 2008 2:05am
Much like certain areas of sociology and psychology, the question of “nature versus nurture” permeates nutrition – or at least the consistently hot button issue of obesity.

A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine gives both factors the attention they equally deserve.

The end result?

“Vigorous physical activity can help even people genetically prone to obesity keep the weight off.”

A team of researchers led by Dr. Soren Snitker of the University of Maryland and Dr. Evadnie Rampersaud of the University of Miami “focused their study on a group of 704 Old Order Amish men and women in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.”

Okay, not the largest sample size, but that doesn't mean we can't extract some juice -- and talking points.

As it turns out, participants who had the obesity (FTO) gene and engaged in the least amount of physical activity were, not surprisingly, "significantly more likely" to be overweight or obese.

However, those participants genetically predisposed to obesity but physically active were not heavier than participants without said predisposition partaking in similar amounts of physical activity.

It’s worth pointing out that the most physically active genetically predisposed group was burning an additional 900 calories than their satient counterparts.

That’s another point for the “calories count” camp!

By the way, the physical activity did not involve treadmills, Stairmasters, Swiss medicine balls, or pullup bars -- just old-fashioned chores (i.e.: gardening, farming, and even working the land with horses and plough!).

Do you think this study can be considered relevant for us non-Amish folks?
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