Not Losing Weight from Exercise? Your DNA Could Be to Blame, Study Finds

Exercise is crucial to our health. There’s no question about it, particularly when we spend so much of our time these days parked at desks or on the couch. But it turns out, some women may benefit from exercise more than others, finds a new study. And those benefits could amount to achieving weight loss goals.

“Women in the study who had certain genetic markers gained weight after following a strength-training regimen for a year, whereas women who didn't have those markers lost weight after following the same regimen,” researchers told LiveScience.

The researchers were looking at genes that have been connected with an increased risk of developing obesity. “The findings may mean that women whose genes predispose them to obesity need to do more exercise to get their desired weight-loss results, and may also need to pay more attention to their diet, study author Yann C. Klimentidis, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Arizona in Tucson told to LiveScience.

DNA samples from 84 women between the ages of 30 to 65 were analyzed in the study. The women performed high-intensity workouts along with moderate impact exercises for at least one hour daily for three days each week over the course of the year. The women were grouped by their genetic risk of obesity.

"There is just a higher wall to climb if you have a high genetic predisposition [for obesity]," Klimentidis said. However, he noted that "exercise is good [for your health] in lots of ways, not just body composition and weight."

What the researchers noted was that exercise had a greater impact on women’s weight loss goals and overall body fat in the women at a lower genetic risk for obesity than in the women whose risk was higher. In fact, the women at higher risk of obesity actually gained 2.6 pounds during the study, versus the women at lower risk, who lost an average of 2.9 pounds. The at-risk group also maintained their percentage of body fat during the study period while the low-risk group lost an average of 2.7 percent of their body fat.

The study shows that "the benefit that one might get from exercise is going to depend on their level of the genetic risk [of obesity]," Klimentidis said.

While the connection isn’t exactly clear how genetic predisposition impacts the benefits of exercise on the body, but a couple of theories exist: “One possibility is that these genes may interact with exercise through physiological mechanisms such as satiety, taste and regulation of energy expenditure,” reports LiveScience.

“But it's also possible that people who have a low genetic risk for obesity may also respond differently to doing more exercise, in terms of how much they eat and how much energy they expend, compared with those with a high risk, according to the study.”

Image: teammarche



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