Physical Activity Attenuates Weight Gain Of FTO Gene?

sharma-obesity-dna_molecule9Clearly genetic predisposition is one of the overwhelming risk factor for excess weight gain.

This, however, does not mean that genetic risk is not modifiable.

Thus, a paper by Carlos Celis-Morales and colleagues, published in OBESITY, suggests that physical activity may attenuate some of the weight gain attributable to the FTO gene, one of the more common obesity risk alleles.

Their study includes data from 1,280 participants in the European Food4Me trial.

Overall, the FTO (rs9939609) genotype was associated with a higher body weight of about 1 Kg per risk allele, 0.5 Kg/m2 higher BMI, and 1.1 cm greater waist circumference.

While these “effects” were higher among inactive individuals (BMI by 1.06 kg/m2 per allele and waist circumference by 2.7 cm per allele), they were lower in individuals with moderate to high physical activity (BMI by 0.16 kg/me and Waist circumference by 0.5 cm).

Thus, it appears that increased physical activity may attenuate (but not fully prevent) the effect of FTO genotype on BMI and WC.

Exactly how clinically relevant these findings are and whether they would have any effect at all on public health messages or individual counselling, where increased physical activity is likely to be recommended irrespective of any “genetic markers” (or at least should be) is pretty doubtful.

Currently, we have yet to await any practical consequences of genotyping individuals for obesity “risk” alleles.

Edmonton, AB