How Does Obesity and Physical Activity Affect Aging?: Focused on Telomere as a Biomarker of Aging

J Obes Metab Syndr. 2019 Jun;28(2):92-104. doi: 10.7570/jomes.2019.28.2.92. Epub 2019 Jun 30.


Obesity is known to continuously increase systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, leading to shorter telomere length. However, research regarding the correlation between physical activity, exercise, obesity, and telomere length is not consistent. Therefore, this review aims to summarize the effects of obesity, physical activity, and exercise on telomere length. Our search for effects of obesity, physical activity, and exercise, on telomeres was conducted using three computerized databases: Medline, PubMed, and EBSCO. Keywords in the search were "physical activity, exercise and obesity," "physical activity, exercise and telomere," and "obesity and telomere." Improving chronic inflammation and oxidative stress levels can prevent telomere attrition due to obesity. In addition, differences in the anti-aging effects of physical activity and exercise are shown in the post-middle-age period, when telomere length changes, rather than in past exercise habits. Maintaining high cardiorespiratory fitness levels through regular exercise and physical activity in the post-middle-age period minimizes obesity-related diseases and helps maintain telomere length, which is an index of cell senescence.

Keywords: Cardiorespiratory fitness; Exercise; Obesity; Physical activity; Telomere.

Publication types

  • Review