It’s very interesting that two people can read the same thing, and come away with viewpoints that couldn’t be more different.
Person #1: Douglas Robb at Healthhabits. A personal trainer that blogs about healthy eating and fitness. DR reads about this study, and draws a very reasonable and constructive conclusion… That “Genetics is not destiny”. While it may be harder for some to maintain, or to lose weight than others, it is still quite attainable, and having an obesity related gene does not change that.
Person #2: Kate Harding at Shapely Prose. A blogger that focuses on topics relating to Fat Acceptance, or FA, and Health at Every Size, or HAES. Kate reads an article about the study, chooses to get upset, again, and instead of drawing a constructive result from this study, decides to point out the language used that does not fit into her world of politically correct fatophile delusion.
To find the effects of physical activity on a person that has a specific gene that has been associated with an increase in the likelihood of obesity.
The group of people studied was an Amish community of over 700 individuals. The reason why these people were chosen is because they average a lot more physical activity on a daily basis than the average American. They don’t have any of the modern conveniences that the rest of us have, therefore, they expend a lot more energy.
According to the study, and due to the fact that they wore a device 24/7 that measured movement (kind of like a high-tech pedometer)…
The researchers found that Amish people with the genetic variant were no more likely to be overweight than those who had the regular version of the gene — as long as they got three to four hours of moderate activity every day.”
Sure, 3-4 hours of physical activity sounds like a lot. But what do they mean by physical activity?
That included things like brisk walking, housecleaning and gardening.”
Well… those examples sound pretty easy. What else can we think of that sounds like it is about that intensity level?
- Riding a bike
- Walking the dog
- Having sex
- Being busy in the kitchen cooking a healthy home cooked meal
- Shooting a few hoops of basketball
- Playing Ping-Pong
- Pushing a stroller around
- Raking the leaves
- Roller skating
- Horseback riding
- Home Improvement/Carpentry
- Light Yoga
- Mowing a small lawn
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
The point is: Anything but sitting around on your bum.
Let’s take a moment to think about the term, “moderate activity”.
As you can see from the examples, none of them sound “DAUNTING”. Not many people would consider them “work” or “exercise”. Sure, some of them are chores, but the point is this: They all involve doing something physical, instead of sitting on the couch watching TV. Things that can be incorporated into your day without really thinking so much about them. They are just a part of a healthier lifestyle.
Another very important thing to point out, is that the idea that one would have to set aside 3 to 4 hours of time a day to solely concentrate on doing these activities is absurd. Obviously (not to everyone, it seems) it would be an ACCUMULATION of time throughout the day.
KATE HARDING SAYS:
…we’re supposed to walk briskly or take the stairs for three to four hours?” […] People are supposed to work at least eight or ten hours a day, then go home and say, “Hi, family, lovely to see you, off for my brisk walk now! You’ll be in bed when I get back, so see you in the morning!”
Or, you know, just park your car farther away from the mall! Like, 15 miles away!
How about this? Let’s say you’re not Amish. Let’s say you do work at a job where you are stuck at a desk for 9 hours a day. Before getting home from work you accumulate, say… 1 hour of moderate physical activity by incorporating such things as a brisk walk into your commute to and from work, taking the stairs when you get there, getting up out of your chair to walk around every once in a while, walking to grab your lunch, taking a short jog on your lunch break (or a trip up and down a few flights of stairs).
When you get home, you accumulate a couple of more hours by walking the dog (with your family), cooking dinner (with your family), doing the dishes (with your family), going for a walk (with your family), playing a game of tennis (not by yourself, I hope), or playing any game or fun activity… with your family.
Keep in mind: These are not things that everyone needs to do to maintain a healthy weight. I am merely making a point that doing the presumed amount of moderate physical activity claimed necessary to stave off obesity even if one is a carrier of the gene mentioned, is far from an impossible task. It is quite attainable for the majority of people out there.
Kate Harding ignores that fact that this study in NO WAY tells us that 3-4 hours of moderate physical activity is necessary for all people trying to lose weight. It merely tells us that a carrier of this particular genetic variant would need to be more diligent in their activity levels than someone that doesn’t carry it.
One of the study’s co-author’s, Soren Snitker, added the following:
But he said every little bit helps, and that adding an extra few hours of activity daily might not be as hard as it seems.
Instead of watching TV for a few hours at night, take a brisk walk, he suggested. Or use stairs instead of elevators, walk instead of driving, or take up a structured exercise such as swimming.
Sure, there are people out there that don’t live in a safe enough neighborhood to do any walking whatsoever, but they can come up with something else if they were seriously wanting to keep the obesity gene at bay.
*Disclaimer* I am not trying to tell anyone that they need to lose weight for anyone else but themselves. I am merely pointing out that an overweight person who wishes to lose weight should not worry that it is an impossible task, because they might have “THE GENE” (BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA).
Snitker, also said this:
“It’s only if you’re not active that the gene hurts,” Snitker said. “If you are active, then either way, it doesn’t matter whether you have the gene or not.”
Let’s look at the conclusion of the study:
Our results strongly suggest that the increased risk of obesity owing to genetic susceptibility by FTO variants can be blunted through physical activity. These findings emphasize the important role of physical activity in public health efforts to combat obesity, particularly in genetically susceptible individuals.”
Damn. Sounds about right to me.
Kate Harding Says:
The thing that really pisses me off about this… is that it just reinforces the idea that exercise is onerous and eating veggies is gross, so the only reason any sane person would do either is to be thin.
By the way. The article says absolutely nothing about food, and only mentions the word “exercise” when referring to the equivalent that a non-Amish obesity gene carrying person would need to do when compared to an active Amish person. Thinking of exercise as onerous was thought up in your head, Kate. Don’t put words in the Associated Press’ mouth.
Let me bring up one final point. Who says you have to do “moderate” physical activity to lose or maintain weight? Doing 45 minutes of intense exercise daily, along with a few “moderate” activities thrown in there (like taking the stairs, or a short walk) would probably equal out to about the same amount of calories burned. Keep in mind, the Amish probably don’t exercise, or workout in the sense that other people do. They just happen to do more physical things.
You and I can lift weights and gain lean muscle mass. You and I can do some HIIT training. Both of which not only burn a lot of calories while you are doing them, they also raise your resting metabolic rate, and allow you to burn more calories just doing the things you do everyday.
Do you make excuses for exercising? Read my post: Exercise: What’s your excuse?