Jogging is found to be the most effective physical exercise that could modify the genetic risk of obesity, a team of National Taiwan University (NTU) researchers said yesterday.
The study was published by the PLOS Genetics online journal on Thursday last week.
Obesity, which could lead to cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders, is a widespread problem in developed nations, NTU College of Public Health associate professor Lin Wan-yu (林菀俞) said.
Citing a national survey by the Health Promotion Administration from 2013 to 2016, Lin said that 45.4 percent of Taiwanese adults are obese or overweight.
While genetics and lifestyle are both factors leading to obesity, studies have shown that genetics is 40 to 70 percent the deciding factor, she said.
Using the Taiwan Biobank database, the team analyzed questionnaires filled out by 18,000 people aged 30 to 70, using five obesity measures: body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage (BFP), hip circumference (HC), waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.
The group then conducted tests of how 18 kinds of regular physical exercises would affect the genetic risk score for each obesity measure.
The group found that regular physical exercise could attenuate the genetic effects on four obesity measures — BMI, BFP, WC, and HC.
Among the 18 kinds of regular exercises, six mitigated the genetic effects on at least one obesity measure, Lin said.
“Regular jogging blunted the genetic effects on BMI, BFP and HC,” Lin said.
Mountain climbing, walking, power walking, international standard dancing and long sessions of yoga also attenuated the genetic effects on BMI,” she said.
Cycling, stretching, swimming and qigong were not found to modify the genetic effects on any obesity measure, the team said.
Jogging was the most effective exercise to mitigate genetic risks, as it utilizes the entire body’s muscles, Lins aid.
However, jogging might not be best for everyone, NTU Hospital’s Beihu branch dean Huang Kuo-chin (黃國晉) said.
People with cardiovascular disease should consult a doctor before engaging in strenuous exercise, Huang added.
People ought to exercise five times a week, with each session lasting at least 30 minutes, Huang said, adding that weight training should take up two of the five exercise sessions to increase muscle mass.
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