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Physical activity reduces the effect of the obesity gene in adolescents
Date:5/4/2010

The FTO gene is obesity's main ally. Several studies are now attempting to reveal the factors that play a key role in fighting against it. A new study led by Spanish researchers shows that a physically active lifestyle during adolescence can reduce the effect of a mutation in this gene which predisposes someone to becoming overweight or obese.

Among the genes correlated to obesity, the FTO (or fat mass gene) is one of the genes responsible for the accumulation of fat in humans. "Each copy of the mutation of this gene is associated with an increase of 3.3 lbs. This means that people who have two copies can weigh 6.6 lbs more than those who have no copies", Jonatan Ruiz, leader of the study and researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden), explains to SINC.

The authors based their research on data collected in the European study HELENA, led by the University of Zaragoza, which analyses the effect of the FTO gene on weight and body fat in adolescents from nine European countries, among them, Spain. Furthermore, the new work records if the effect of this gene is independent of the level of physical activity performed by adolescents.

The results, published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, reveal that in Europe, 37% of the assessed adolescents did not have any copy of the mutation, 47% had one copy and 16% had two. The research project appears among the five finalists for the Award for Scientific Excellence organised by the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO).

"Although the genetic mutation is linked to a higher rate of body mass, fat, and waist circumference, what is interesting is that its effect practically disappears among adolescents who perform the daily recommended amount of physical activity", highlights the expert.

It's not all in the genes

For this reason, "performing the recommended amount of physical activity can c
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Contact: SINC
info@plataformasinc.es
34-914-251-820
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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