Exercise alone may not shed pounds

March 2, 2005 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Sports Nutrition and Exercise, Weight Management

Exercise alone may not shed pounds

According to a recent study getting more exercise may be key to staying healthy, but its effect on body fat may depend on whether the exerciser is male or female. 

Researchers say taking up regular physical activity of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity (equal to brisk walking) per day is, besides quitting smoking, the most important change an individual can make to improve his or her general health and wellbeing.  Particularly in children, regular physical activity improves bone health and is associated with improvements in all 'adult risk factors' for coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

However, researchers note that physical activity may not be as strongly related to obesity as once thought.

Researchers had a total of 445 adolescents and their mothers, complete questionnaires about the frequency, length, and intensity of physical activity they had engaged in during leisure time, at school or as a means of transportation during a 7-day period.  Overall, about 10 percent of the girls and 15 percent of the boys were overweight or obese as were roughly 34 percent of the mothers.

Teen boys were generally heavier, taller and more active than their female counterparts and their fat mass decreased as their physical activity level increased. The same was not true for adolescent girls, who had a much higher percentage of body fat than did the boys. Their level of physical activity did not affect their body fat.

So simply increasing one's physical activity level may not be the key to reducing his or her level of obesity or preventing it.

According to researchers, successful weight loss is clearly a combination between reduced energy intake and increased physical activity. They conclude that limiting calorie intake is a more effective way of preventing weight gain than trying to burn them off afterwards. However, physical activity is still recommended for children and adolescents since regular exercise is known to lower the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.