Get active for 3-4 hours a day?

This popped up on Google News’ “Health” tab:

Got a fat gene?  Get active for 3-4 hours a day

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?

4 thoughts on “Get active for 3-4 hours a day?

  1. If the average difference in weight is only 15 lbs (for 3 to 4 hours of moderate activity), that’s not going to do me much good at all. I’m 375 lbs, so at 360, I’ll still be “morbidly, death looking for a place to happen, obese”. And they’d still be on my ass to lose more weight and work out harder and longer. It ain’t happening, people. I have better things to do with my time than exercise all day long, because exercise is what they’re talking about, they aren’t talking about working a job where you’re standing/walking the entire time (been there done that, and I was fat at the time, and stayed fat, and didn’t have time to eat much because those shifts I worked were 10 to 12 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week).
    Yeah, they’re going to spin it as “3 to 4 hours of moderate exercise a day will miraculously make you thin”. Yeah, right, and I have a bridge for sale if they really believe that.

  2. Yup. My dad had a very active job. So active that he could eat twice as much as my mother and weigh half as much. Well, he retired. He also quit smoking. And yes, he started gaining weight. For a while he had to buy jeans with a 40″ waist! Horrors!

    So he took up walking. Now that he’s walking 3 miles a day, he’s down to 38″! Why, that’s almost the 36″ waist he wore before retirement!

    Yeah. He did not gain 50, or 100, or 150lbs. He gained 20 or 30, tops. Almost like his body had a range it wanted to stay within.

    And yet he tells me how if I walked three miles a day, like him, I’d be thin. Right. *headdesk*

  3. 3-4 hours a day…

    Now I actually work out quite a bit. But you know, I’m a writer. For me to get three or four hours of activity a day, I’d have to quit my job and do something else.

    Sure I could. I guess we fat chicks should know our place and have manual labor type jobs rather than desk jobs, huh?

    FEH!

  4. This article doesn’t sound surprising. Don’t a lot of “health” doctors or whatnot say stuff like this all the time? I get my exercise from the Slimin6 program (not that I believe it’ll make me skinny in six weeks, but because the exercises looked better than everything I was doing before.) And depending on how I’m feeling that day, the most I get is probably about an hour. It’s worked well enough for me. That and the diet I’m on. ^^

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s