Breaking a sweat helps control weight gain over 20 years

Nov 05, 2007

Don't slack off on exercise if you want to avoid packing on the pounds as you age.

A consistently high level of physical activity from young adulthood into middle age increases the odds of maintaining a stable weight and lessens the amount of weight gained over time, according to a new analysis from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

People who reported at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity a day such as jogging, bicycling or swimming were more than twice as likely to maintain a stable Body Mass Index (BMI) over 20 years. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. But even highly active people who gained weight, gained 14 pounds less over 20 years than those with consistently low activity.

Although activity is often recommended as a way to prevent weight gain, this is one of the first studies to examine the relationship between activity and weight by looking at patterns of exercise over a long period of time.

Researchers examined data from over 2,600 participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study to determine if high activity patterns over time were associated with maintaining a stable BMI. Participants in CARDIA, who were 18 to 30 years old when the study began, have been tracked for 20 years.

"The results will hopefully encourage young people to become more active and to maintain high activity over a lifetime," said Arlene Hankinson, lead author and an instructor in preventive medicine at the Feinberg School. Hankinson presented her findings on Monday, Nov. 5, at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Fla.

Source: Northwestern University

Explore further: Local enforcement of federal immigration laws affects immigrant Hispanics' healthcare

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How can we avoid kelp beds turning into barren grounds?

Nov 28, 2014

Urchins are marine invertebrates that mould the biological richness of marine grounds. However, an excessive proliferation of urchins may also have severe ecological consequences on marine grounds as they ...

Firmer footing for robots with smart walking sticks

Nov 25, 2014

Anyone who has ever watched a humanoid robot move around in the real world—an "unstructured environment," in research parlance—knows how hard it is for a machine to plan complex movements, balance on ...

Researcher developing wearable device to track diet

Nov 10, 2014

Sensors and software used to track physical activity are increasingly popular, as smart phones and their apps become more powerful and sophisticated, but, when it comes to food, they all rely on the user ...

Scientific instruments of Rosetta's Philae lander

Sep 23, 2014

When traveling to far off lands, one packs carefully. What you carry must be comprehensive but not so much that it is a burden. And once you arrive, you must be prepared to do something extraordinary to make ...

How Paramecium protozoa claw their way to the top

Sep 19, 2014

The ability to swim upwards – towards the sun and food supplies – is vital for many aquatic microorganisms. Exactly how they are able to differentiate between above and below in often murky waters is ...

Recommended for you

Hot flashes linked to increased risk of hip fracture

2 hours ago

Women who experience moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats during menopause tend to have lower bone mineral density and higher rates of hip fracture than peers who do not have menopausal symptoms, according to a ...

Core hospital care team members may surprise you

2 hours ago

Doctors and nurses are traditionally thought to be the primary caretakers of patients in a typical hospital setting. But according to a study at the burn center intensive care unit at Loyola University Health System, three ...

Malnutrition a hidden epidemic among elders

4 hours ago

Health care systems and providers are not attuned to older adults' malnutrition risk, and ignoring malnutrition exacts a toll on hospitals, patients, and payers, according to the latest issue of the What's Hot newsletter ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

murray
not rated yet Nov 06, 2007
Perhaps obesity and lack of motivation to exercise are both effects of common causes. For example, if there is a metabolic impairment to the delivery or use of stored fat and caloric consumption is reduced, then a person will suffer both low energy and progressive fat accumulation when the low calorie regimen is broken from time to time. Counselling such a person to exercise may simply result in caloric binge and fat gain, which anecdotally certainly seems to be the case from my experience.
legendmoth
not rated yet Nov 08, 2007
To murray: Putting exercise into the equation, in and of itself, should not create a caloric binge and fat gain. It will increase the metabolism, and if (and hopefully this would seldom happen) there is a caloric binge the heightened metabolism would help that from also becoming a fat gain. Most people I know occasionally eat more than they should, those that exercise regularly are better able to burn those calories and keep a steady weight, which I think is the point of the article.
vlam67
not rated yet Nov 08, 2007
I wonder why humans still debating this issue????
Where do you see fat "savages"/"primitive" people running around and work their guts out all day just to have something to put into their mouth?? Obese POWs in WW2? Overweight super athletes?? (Sumo wrestlers are exception, since they must have the weight for their techniques, but, they are fit, fast, and can do a flat side-split, can you?)
Have a few dozen blast of EMPs to wipe out all the TVs and computers, throw in WW3 and starvation, and then can you tell me where to find some fat butts??
In simplest terms: Lots of fat = Obesity = Energy from food intake - Energy expended by whatever means > 0
Well-fed people are stuffing up themselves stupid, and keep finding this and that reasons to to justify their habit with pathological obsession just to avoid the truth....hopeless!!

COCO
not rated yet Nov 15, 2007
stay fat and prepare for the famine!!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.