Two weeks ago you read about a study done with rats at Yale University that found the brains of rats bred to be genetically predisposed to obesity reacted differently to being fed a high-fat diet than those who were bred to be lean.
The finding led the lead author to write that obesity is "less about personal will" and more about genetics.
Since I disagree, I countered with "genetic predisposition is not destiny," especially for humans not specially bred, and used deduction reaching a particular conclusion from general information to prove it.
The CDC had just released a report showing adult obesity rates by state tripled in just one year.
How in the world could a truly genetic problem spring up in so many adults so quickly?
Instead, a more likely argument is the one offered by the CDC: that American society has become obesogenic, where overeating nutritionally void, high-calorie food and doing little exercise is now the norm. And what this does is exacerbate the problems encountered by certain individuals who are predisposed to gaining fat.
But in the world of health and science, deduction is seen as more of a way to generate discussion than to determine matters. That's why my argument that it's not fate to be fat will be offered once again.
That's because since the writing of the first column, British researchers have released scientific proof that bad genes can be mitigated by exercise.
In the study published in September in the journal PLoS Medicine, 20,430 volunteers were checked for 12 genetic variants associated with obesity that were passed onto them by their parents and asked their degree of physical activity. Most had between five and six of these variants.
Researchers determined that each increased the risk of obesity by 16 percent if the individual didn't work out.
The risk for those who did workout about an hour a day was only 10 percent.
Additionally, the researchers correlated the lack of exercise into a weight difference. For someone 5'6", the difference was a half of a pound. So for those found to have all 12 genetic variants, don't work out, and are appreciably taller, the difference could be 10 pounds.
In essence, this study reinforces what I have written for years: genetics will lead you down a certain path, but only if you agree to follow.
Think of viewing pictures of your parents 10 years older than you are now as analogous to Ebeneezer Scrooge being shown the future by the Ghost of Christmases Yet to Come.
If you eat and exercise for the next 10 years the way your parents did back then, there's a rather high likelihood that your body type in the futur