Obesity Gene Switched Off by Exercise


In 2007, the FTO (fat, mass, and obesity) gene was discovered which predisposes humans to develop obesity. This obesity gene is found in about 75% of people from Europe, and African Americans but only 44% of Asians.

People with one copy of the FTO gene have an increased risk of obesity of 30%. A person with two copies of the FTO gene have a risk of obesity of 70%. Dr. Ruth Loos recently did an analysis of dozens of studies that included over 200,000 individuals. 

Some of the people who exercised regularly—the equivalent of walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week—turned off their obesity genes. There was an across the board 30% reduction in obesity for those who exercised, no matter how many copies of the FTO gene they had. 

This analysis is the best evidence available that physical activity can trigger changes in gene expression. Regular exercise make some health-promoting genes more active while at the same time suppressing genes that will harm you like those linked to obesity.

The Bible says, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8, NKJV) Exercise will help you fight obesity in this life and godliness will prepare you for the life to come. 

Ellen White, a 19th century health reformer, made the following observation: 

“In regard to that which we can do for ourselves, there is a point that requires careful, thoughtful consideration. I must become acquainted with myself. I must be a learner always as to how to take care of this building, the body God has given me, that I may preserve it in the very best condition of health. I must eat those things which will be for my very best good physically, and I must take special care to have my clothing such as will conduce to a healthful circulation of the blood. I must not deprive myself of exercise and air. I must get all the sunlight that it is possible for me to obtain. I must have wisdom to be a faithful guardian of my body.” (Child Guidance 366)


Dr. Adams is a graduate of Loma Linda University School of Medicine. His MPH is from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Adams is retired from the position of Medical Director of Tarrant County Public Health in Fort Worth, Texas. He is the developer of the Best Weigh nutrition and weight loss program. He is also the author of the Handbook of Health Evangelism and Jesus Was Thin: So You Can Be Thin Too.