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HHS HealthBeat (October 29, 2012)

Genetics and teen obesity

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Nicholas Garlow with HHS HealthBeat.

Is it possible we can be born into obesity? Not completely, but genetics can play a role.  But new research shows that those at risk of obesity because of genetics and hereditary factors can reduce that underlying risk with exercise.

Andrea Richardson is at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Our study has shown that achieving the recommended level of moderate to rigorous physical activity can reduce the genetic effect for higher BMI among teens. This is important because adolescents are at high risk for weight gain that can then lead to later adult obesity and severe obesity.”

Richardson noted that the heritability of obesity is estimated to be between 40 and 70 percent.

The study presented at a meeting of the Obesity Society was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Nicholas Garlow.

Last revised: October 29, 2012