Don't Blame The Fat Gene!
Obesity is attracting a lot of interest because it is reaching epidemic levels. According to the National Institutes of Health 67% of US adults are overweight or obese. 33% of US adults are obese. Since 1960 obesity has risen from 13.4 to 35.1 percent in U.S. adults ages 20 to 74.
Because of the health implications for overweight people, social policy makers are looking for ways to reverse the trend. Medical researchers are as well.
FTO is the acronym for the fat mass and obesity associated gene which researchers are referring to when they mention the "fat gene". Recently, a large international collaboration of researchers led by Ruth Loos from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge, UK, decided to investigate whether having the FTO gene means that obesity is inevitable. The research was conducted to determine whether or not exercise made a difference in the manifestation of obesity as some studies indicated.
All researchers who had conducted FTO research were invited to participate in this study which examined the health data of 218,166 adults and 19,268 children from 45 different studies. This study meta-analyzed the data from the 45 studies for information about exercise habits and impact. To meta-analyze means to review existing study data with new or different criteria. In this case all the study data was reviewed with using a new and standardized analysis plan. The study tested for the effect of FTO and physical activity on the BMI index of the studies' participants.
The research found that 25% of the adults and 13% of the children were inactive. After reviewing all of the data, the study concluded that the odds of obesity were reduced 27% by exercise. Interestingly, the study showed a higher impact of physical activity in North America than Europe presumably because the North American lifestyle is more sedentary than that of Europe.Continued on the next page