Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Enterprise Awards 2013

Social Impact

Man on exercise bike

DNA profile guided personalised health and fitness

Loughborough academic
Professor Jamie Timmons, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

The health benefits of becoming more active are widely promoted, but not everyone responds to exercise in the same way. All of us will benefit from establishing a healthy lifestyle, but a one-size fits all approach to exercise is not the answer.

Over 10 years’ research has culminated in a new approach using an individual’s DNA to devise a tailored health and fitness programme. Jamie Timmons is leading the team at Loughborough who are collaborating with a consortium of prominent scientists in Europe, America and Canada on Metapredict, a cutting–edge medical project aimed at combating diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.  

The research is identifying molecular biomarkers for response to exercise training, so that individualised lifestyle strategies can be developed to lower the risk of these diseases. 

The project uses a new time-efficient exercise tool – ‘HIT’ (High Intensity Training) – that can improve aerobic fitness and insulin action with as little as six minutes of exercise per week. Metapredict aims to prove who responds best to HIT and how it impacts on important health parameters. Loughborough is currently leading the consortium outcomes relating to inflammation and body fat and appetite.

As a result of Metapredict consortium research, XRgenomics was launched in 2012 to offer DNA profiling to determine people’s response to exercise and a comprehensive lifestyle report (90 different varieties) that provides strategies for the individual, managing fitness goals and ultimately aiming to reduce the healthcare burden associated with metabolic disease.

Are you likely to respond to exercise? New York Times

Can you get fit in five minutes? The Guardian

Horizon feature programme

BBC Breakfast feature

How exercise friendly is your body? Time Magazine

How three minutes of exercise could change your life, Daily Mail

Impact

  • XRPredict+ DNA test launched within five months of company launch
  • Over 200 satisfied customers, including Leicester Tigers and 12 journalists currently taking the test (including Guardian, Athletics weekly, Men's Health, The Times)
  • Global media interest
  • BBC horizon feature was one of the highest viewed episodes in years and has been bought by public broadcasting services in the USA (a first for Horizon)

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