Results of the Fitdigits Genetics & Fitness Survey
Thank you all for your responses to our survey in last month’s newsletter! We are always curious about people and their beliefs, as well as the science, behind health and fitness. While this is certainly not a scientific study, it was very interesting to see the results.
Great Believers in Genetics
First we looked at the answers from those who are great believers in genetics. For those folks, all of them were in OK to fantastic shape themselves, and 30% of them have always been that way. Only 10% have gotten worse over time, and around 20% have gone back and forth.
20% of these felt like they needed to lose a bit of weight, but over 80% said “maybe just a little”, or that they needed to gain weight. 70% of them also said their mothers were in ok to good shape, and 80% of fathers were too, so there is a high correlation to their shape and their parents. However, only 25% reported that neither their mother nor father struggled with weight issues, which seems to contradict the assessments of their health, or at least they didn’t associate health and fitness primarily with weight.
These respondents were about 50% likely to be similar or somewhat similar in body type to their family members, which is lower than the next group and significantly different from those with opposite beliefs.
Genetics + Habits = Determination
By contrast, since 100% of those who believed fitness and weight are heavily determined by genetics and were all in great shape, we looked at those who weren’t in good shape (or terrible shape), since they obviously contrast the first group.
Of these people, almost 60% have gotten worse over time, only 12% have gotten better over time. They are primarily (75%) of the mindset they need to lose quite a bit of weight. Not a single one said their weight was good or they needed to gain weight.
None of these respondents reported having a mother or father in great shape either. In fact, none reported a mother above an “OK” rating for their health. Only 10% related that their parents improved their health over time – most were always poor or gotten worse over time. Only 5% reported that neither their mother nor father struggled with weight issues over their lifetime, so in contrast 95% had dealt with weight issues in their families. Also, over 75% reported having a similar physical structure as their parents.
These respondents also responded that primarily they did not enjoy most types of cardio exercise and their bodies did not respond quickly or easily. Surprisingly, when it came to flexibility / coordination exercises and weight lifting, over 50% reported that their body does respond well but also plateaus quickly. This also correlates highly with their enjoyment of those types of exercises.
One hundred percent of these respondents believed that habits and attitudes were at least as important, or more so, than genetics in health and fitness.
Genetics – Bah! Self-Determination!
Which then brings us to the final question for now, and that is, what is the profile characteristics for those who did not believe genetics really played any significant role in health and fitness? All other options had already been covered!
There weren’t many, but the pattern appeared fairly quickly. They were all in very good shape, and yet all had mothers (and a vast majority of fathers) who were not in shape or in poor health. They indicated they were always healthy, unlike their parents. Most just did not identify in physical structure with one or both parents. Like most respondents who reported a high level of personal fitness, they enjoyed fitness activities (cardio the most), and responded well to them.
It is hard to draw any real hard conclusions on a non-scientific study, but certainly we could see the patterns beginning to form. Mostly, we are an experiential being – what we experience, we tend to believe.
For example, those who were in good shape, and whose parents were the same, certainly were most likely to believe in genetics. For those who weren’t in good shape, and neither were their parents, they were more likely to be on the fence, and believe it was both habits and genetics in certain roles. Some in the families had transcended in health, while others stayed in the same health stasis. And finally, those who were in good shape but came from parents and family who were not healthy or fit, they were certainly the most likely to believe in self-determination, and habits over genetics.
What the truth is, we are just starting to scratch the surface. But it is a fascinating journey, and thank you again for being part of it!