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An earlier study in Amish adults in Lancaster County, Pa., found they needed three to four hours of moderate activity daily to beat the gene. The adults in that study did things like brisk walking, housecleaning and gardening.
The teens in the new study may have exercised more vigorously than the Amish adults, Ruiz said. The new analysis was designed to see whether the current U.S. guidelines -- which specify a moderate to vigorous level of exercise for an hour a day -- made a difference for kids.
The lead author of the Amish study, Evadnie Rampersaud of the University of Miami, said the new findings are "very interesting" because they suggest one hour daily spent exercising can be enough for teenagers at risk.
University of Miami researchers now are studying adults in an employee wellness program to see what it takes for them to overcome the fatso gene, Rampersaud said.
"The message is clear: genes are not destiny," said Dr. Alan Shuldiner of the University of Maryland, a co-author of the Amish study. "Those with obesity susceptibility genes should be especially motivated to engage in a physically active lifestyle."
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