Physically active lifestyle during adolescence can reduce the effect of a mutation in a gene that predisposes someone to becoming overweight or obese, says a study led by Spanish researchers.
Among the genes correlated to obesity, the FTO (or fat mass gene) is one of the genes responsible for the accumulation of fat in humans.
"Each copy of the mutation of this gene is associated with an increase of 3.3 lbs. This means that people who have two copies can weigh 6.6 lbs more than those who have no copies", said Jonatan Ruiz, study's lead author and researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden).
The authors based their research on data collected in the European study HELENA, led by the University of Zaragoza, which analyses the effect of the FTO gene on weight and body fat in adolescents from nine European countries, among them, Spain.
"For young people, one hour of sport per day is enough to reduce the potential risk of this genetic mutation," Ruiz said.
The study has been published in the journal Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.