Got NEAT?

Today, a newly hired faculty member of Kent State University, Dr. Colleen Novak, gave a seminar on genetic, physiological, and environmental predispositions to obesity. Obesity is nearly nonexistant in societies that depend on constant, rigorous physical activity for survival, such as the Amish communities. And these people love sausages and cheeses! The main contributor to obesity in our modern Blackberry/iPhone, hybrid car, video-game crazed, sedentary society is a low NEAT: non-exercise activity thermogenesis.

High intensity exercise doesn’t help with weight management (see the controversial PLOS publication from last month). NEAT does. NEAT is what my lab mates and I do on a daily basis, and perchance explains our lean, voluptuous curves; walking from the research annex to the main building, cleaning cages, standing at the cryostat sectioning and staining brains for hours, making chemical solutions, running 20 min microdialysis samples for 6 hours, etc., etc. Independent of genetics, NEAT explains why mom is lean, even though she doesn’t run on a treadmill and/or ride a bike. We need NEAT, not MEAT.

Time to work out……or not……

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