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

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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.
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.
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!!

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

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