Obesity in Dogs: Exercise and the Obesity Genes
We have been writing a lot about nutrigenomics, which is the study of how food can influence the gene expressions of a body. A related field is called epigenetics, which is similar, but more broadly studies the impact of exogenous factors, like lifestyle and environment, on gene expression. While researching foods impact on the body’s obesity genes, I stumbled upon a fascinating study that linked exercise to obesity gene expression in humans.
Exercise Can Turn Off Fat Genes
In a study published in August 2010, and with a human sample of over 20,000 people, researchers found that living a physically active lifestyle is associated with a 40% reduction in the genetic predisposition to common obesity. Said differently, the research debunks the notion that people who are genetically predisposed to being fat are destined to become fat.
The study leads to some other eye opening conclusions. According to the paper’s editor (bold and italics are mine for emphasis):
“The findings of this study suggest that, while the whole population benefits from increased physical activity levels, individuals who are genetically predisposed to obesity would benefit more than genetically protected individuals. Furthermore, these findings challenge the deterministic view of the genetic predisposition to obesity that is often held by the public, as they show that even the most genetically predisposed individuals will benefit from adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Pretty powerful stuff to say the least.
Exercise and Appropriate Diet is the Key to a Lean and Healthy Dog (and Human)
In our articles on the nutrigenomic effect of food on obesity genes, we have reported on studies that show that the food we serve our dogs can impact the dog’s obesity gene expression based on specific ingredients and the food’s carbohydrate content.
Now we have evidence that activity can also impact obesity genes in people and I would expect that this holds true for dogs as well. Just think about this for a minute. We don’t need to go the pharmacy for Slentrol or other pharmaceutical solutions if our pet is overweight. We don’t need to rush to buy a diet food (which are often actually high in carbohydrates and fillers). And we don’t have to accept that our pet will be overweight.
All that we have to do is to commit to regular exercise and mindful food decisions for our dogs. By doing so, not only will our pets trim down, but their obesity genes, which lurk in their bodies just waiting to pounce when we over-feed, mis-feed, or fail to exercise our dogs, will also ‘calm down’ and not be able to wreck so much havoc on the dog’s internal weight management systems. The end result is a natural way to prevent or cure obesity and general weight problems for our pets.
Sound simple? Good! Get off your butt and workout with your mutt!Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts To Dog with Love and My GBGV Life. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below - lots of fun fitness tips and advice!