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Activity vs. Genetics in Reducing Body Weight

February 29th, 2012

Have your members ever complained of having a predisposition to being overweight? Tell them to get back on the treadmill because a new study has shown that while genetics plays a role, activity level is the main predictor in body weight and fat.

In a study, researchers found that physical activity levels showed a bigger difference in body weight than hereditary factors. The participants of the study, 241 pairs of female twins, were examined for weight, height, body fat percentage, abdominal fat, physical activity, intensity of activity, dietary intake, energy expenditure and leg muscle strength. About 56 percent of the participants were within the normal weight range, while 30 percent were overweight, 7 percent were obese and the remaining 7 percent were underweight. The researchers assumed that differences in body fat and between twins would be caused by environmental factors since the twins share the same genetics.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that physical activity was the biggest predictor of body weight. Women who participated in activities, usually weight-bearing activities such as walking or running, at least once a week had lower body fat and abdominal fat, and increased muscle mass and muscle strength than women who didn’t participate in sweating activities. The length of time the women remained active also contributed to overall weight loss and reduction in body fat. The longer the women exercised, the more weight and body fat was reduced. Participants with a high-genetic risk for obesity had more body fat than participants with a low-genetic risk, however, regular weight-bearing activity can help to control and reduce weight and body fat.

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