Washington: Watching too much TV can worsen your genetic tendency towards obesity, but walking briskly for an hour a day can help you cut the effect by half, say researchers.“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 behaviour of television watching on the body mass index (BMI) of individuals with a genetic predisposition to obesity,” said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass.“In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half. On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent,” Qi stated.The study included 7,740 women and 4,564 men from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers collected data on physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing BMI.BMI is the ratio of weight in kilograms to square of height in meters; a score of 30 or more is obese.The researchers calculated a genetic predisposition score based on 32 established BMI-predisposing genetic variants. The effect of genes on obesity was measured by differences in BMI per point of the genetic predisposition score, corresponding to each BMI-increasing gene.
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