Walking may lessen the influence of genes on obesity by half

Watching too much TV can worsen your genetic tendency toward obesity, but you can cut the effect in half by walking briskly for an hour a day, according to researchers Qibin Qi, PhD, and a post-doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

“While previous studies have looked at how physical activity affects genetic predispositions, this is the first study that directly looked at the effect of the sedentary behavior of television-watching on the body mass index (BMI) of individuals with a genetic predisposition to obesity,” said professor Qi.

“In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence toward obesity by half. On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent.”