Genetic obesity risk influenced by lifestyle as well as DNA

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The risk for developing obesity is influenced by our lifestyle as well as our genes. In a new study from Uppsala University, researchers show that our genetic risk for obesity is not static, but is influenced by our lifestyle. Results from the study have been published in the scientific journal PLOS Genetics. In the current study, researchers have investigated if genetic effects are influenced by different lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking, socio-economic status, alcohol consumption and physical activity.

[T]he effect of genetic factors was lower in the most physically active participants. Socio-economic status also influenced the genetic effects. The genetic risk for obesity was more pronounced in participants with lower socio-economic status than in participants with higher socio-economic status.

The results suggest that we can influence our genetic risk by changing our lifestyle. Someone with a strong predisposition for obesity, for instance a person with many overweight relatives, could reduce the effect of their genes by making lifestyle changes. The hope is that the results of this study will lead to new angles of approach to understanding the mechanisms that regulate body weight and to better methods of treating and preventing obesity and overweight.

[Read the full study]

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