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Lazy Baboons Prove Genetics Count

A study of wild baboons shows that staying active is key to staying lean, but some may be able to skip exercise and still avoid weight gain thanks to their genes.

William Banks, a professor of geriatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, recently analyzed the eating and exercise patterns of two sets of baboons in East Africa. One group lived normal baboon lifestyles and traveled widely throughout the forest every day to forage for food.

The others discovered they could feed with little effort from garbage bins outside a nearby a tourist area.

"What they were eating included about the same amount of calories," Banks said. "The difference is the garbage-eating baboons weren't expending much effort."

It wasn't surprising to Banks that there were plump baboons among the garbage-eating group. Tests showed these baboons also had unhealthy levels of glucose, insulin and cholesterol in their blood. Among the foragers, there were no overweight baboons.

What was surprising, however, is that some of the garbage-munching baboons did not get fat. The conclusion? When it comes to diet and weight gain, life isn't fair.

"It's like in people," Banks said. "Many of us live in the same caloric environment, but some people weigh more than others. It's always a combination of genetics and environment."

Source: ABC news

Obesity and Weight Loss
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