Jogging best for fighting obesity

Jogging may be the best weapon against obesity.

A new study out of Taiwan has looked at the best types of exercises to combat obesity.

Specifically, the research wanted to identify the exercises that helped manage the genetic effects that contribute to obesity.

The study

The research was performed on more than 18,000 Han Chinese adults, all aged between 30 and 70.

Researchers looked at the interactions between the participants’ genetics and their self-reported exercise routines. To do this, they build a genetic risk score (GRS) for each participant based on their biological stats and risk factors.

The study used five measures of obesity: body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, waist circumference, hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.

There were 18 different types of exercise measured, with six being found to mitigate the genetic effects of at least one of the obesity measures.

The results

The results showed that regular jogging was the best weapon against the genetic risks associated with obesity. It specifically worked to combat BMI, body fat percentage and hip circumference.

Other exercises measured, including mountain climbing, walking, yoga and dancing, had a good effect on BMI.

Interestingly, researchers found that other exercises — such as stretching, cycling, swimming and tai chi — did not effect the five obesity measures. This was a surprising result for the authors of the study.

Another form of exercise that did not affect any obesity measure was playing the video game Dance Dance Revolution.

It should be noted that because of the relatively few number of participants engaging in other exercises, the researchers could not determine a statistical relationship between them and obesity. These exercises were tennis, table tennis, badminton, basketball and, importantly, weight training.

However, the findings do show that you can decrease your genetic risk of obesity by performing different kinds of exercise.

As the study concludes, “the benefits of regular physical exercise, especially jogging, are more impactful in subjects who are more predisposed to obesity.”

The journal PLOS Genetics has published the research.


Lin W-Y et al. (2019) ‘Performing different kinds of physical exercise differentially attenuates the genetic effects on obesity measures: Evidence from 18,424 Taiwan Biobank participants.’ PLoS Genet 15(8): e1008277.

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