This popped up on Google News’ “Health” tab:
Maybe you CAN blame being fat on your genes. But there’s a way to overcome that family history – just get three to four hours of moderate activity a day. Sound pretty daunting? Not for the Amish of Lancaster County, Pa., who were the focus of a new study on a common genetic variation that makes people more likely to gain weight. It turns out the variant’s effects can be blocked with physical activity – lots of it.
Scientists believe about 30 percent of white people of European ancestry have this variant, including the Amish, and that may partly explain why so many people are overweight.
The researchers found that Amish people with the genetic variant were no more likely to be overweight than those who had the regular version of the gene – as long as they got three to four hours of moderate activity every day. That included things like brisk walking, housecleaning and gardening.
This is interesting information. It’s true that our society has become less active and more desk-job-focused, and if being that active means you don’t gain, that’s cool.
But, then, comes the next bit:
And while physical activity is recommended for just about everyone, the study suggests that people with the gene variation need to be especially vigilant about getting exercise.
…followed by the usual admonishments to take the stairs instead of elevators, park further from work, start a swimming program, because “every little bit helps”.
Somehow I doubt the “little things” will add up to enough to seriously reduce my size. And despite the fact that nothing in the article suggests that starting this sort of program would result in massive weight loss, I feel guilty that I’m not immediately jumping to do it.
Which is insane.
Among those with the variant, those who got about three or four hours of moderate physical activity a day weighed up to about 15 pounds less on average than the least active people.
If we were talking about weight LOSS, that would move plenty of folks from “morbidly obese” to “obese”, or from “obese” to “overweight”, or from “overweight” to “normal”. But we’re not.
The study is talking about finding people who had this particular gene and comparing the most active ones with the least active ones, and seeing what weight they happened to have. It’s not about weight loss. But how do you think it’s going to get spun in the media?