Physical activity and exercise habits may be predetermined by an individual’s genetic makeup, studies suggest. Reports recently published in Physiological Genomics and the Journal of Heredity show that to a certain extent genes appear to influence the level of physical activity in mice, which are the standard test species for exploring the genetics of mammals.
Researcher Timothy Lightfoot from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte put it this way: “Can you be born a couch potato? In exercise physiology, we didn’t used to think so, but now I would say most definitely you can.” The findings suggest that motivation and drive to stay active are programmed in the brain.
According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of obesity has tripled in the European region since the 1980s and continues to rise, particularly among children. Statistics show that in the United States almost 65 percent of the population is either obese or overweight.
Inflammation in the Unfit
Recent research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has demonstrated that persons who are physically unfit and overweight have elevated counts of white blood cells, suggesting that their condition puts them at risk of chronic inflammation. Tim Church and colleagues at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center took resting blood samples from 452 healthy men. Participants also underwent a treadmill exercise test and were weighed and measured so that their body mass indexes could be calculated. After adjusting for age, the researchers found that white blood cell levels were lowest in the fittest men and highest in those who were the most unfit. The white blood cell count rose as the measure of bodyfat increased.
Chronic inflammation is a known risk factor for many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s. It’s been known for some time that being overweight or obese is a risk factor for inflammation; however, the new research suggests that being physically unfit may also trigger inflammatory processes.
—Dr. Bob Goldman
Editor’s note: For the latest information and research on health and aging, subscribe to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine e-zine free at WorldHealth.net.
Dr. Robert M. Goldman MD, PhD, DO, FAASP has spearheaded the development of numerous international medical organizations and corporations. Dr. Goldman has served as a Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Filene Center, Tufts University; as an Affiliate at the Philosophy of Education Research Center, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, He is Clinical Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Korea Medical University; and Professor, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Central America Health Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Goldman holds the positions of Visiting Professor, Udayana University School of Medicine, Indonesia; Visiting Professor, Huazhong University of Science & Technology Tong Ji Medical School, China; Visiting Professor, The Wuhan Institute of Science & Technology, China; Visiting Professor at Hainan Medical College, China; and Visiting Professor, School of Anti-Aging, Aesthetics and Regenerative Medicine, UCSI University, Malaysia. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. He has overseen cooperative research agreement development programs in conjunction with such prominent institutions as the American National Red Cross, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense, and the FDA's Center for Devices & Radiological Health.
Dr Goldman was awarded the 2012 LifeTime Achievement Award in Medicine &Science. Dr. Goldman is the recipient of the 'Gold Medal for Science, the Grand Prize for Medicine, the Humanitarian Award, and the Business Development Award. He received honors from Minister of Sports and government Health officials of numerous nations. In 2001, Excellency Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded Dr. Goldman the International Olympic Committee Tribute Diploma for contributions to the development of sport & Olympism.
In addition, Dr. Goldman is a black belt in karate, Chinese weapons expert, and world champion athlete with over 20 world strength records, he has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Some of his past performance records include 13,500 consecutive situps and 321 consecutive handstand pushups. Dr. Goldman was an All-College athlete in four sports, a three time winner of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Physical Fitness Award, was voted Athlete of the Year, was the recipient of the Champions Award, and was inducted into the World Hall of Fame of Physical Fitness. Dr. Goldman was awarded the Healthy American Fitness Leader Award from the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Goldman is Chairman of the International Medical Commission overseeing sports medicine committees in over 184 nations. He has served as a Special Advisor to the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. He is founder and international President Emeritis of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the cofounder and Chairman of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). Dr. Goldman visits an average of 20 countries annually to promote brain research and sports medicine programs.