Exercise & obesity

According, to a group of international experts, the cause of obesity is down to a bad diet, rather than a lack of exercise.

In an article discussing whether sedentary lifestyles, food or a combination of both are responsible for the rapid growth in obesity, doctors confirmed they thought the obesity crisis had almost nothing to do with the amount of exercise we take part in.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we should sit on our laurels and do nothing in the way of exercise. It would always be prudent for us to exercise for other reasons too. Lifestyle choices should be part of a healthy scenario and must include everything that incorporates healthy choices.

Whilst we all need frequent physical activity, which is vital if we are to reduce our risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, strokes and dementia, it does not promote weight loss. Authors writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, including cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, claim that soft drink and food companies, have incorrectly emphasised that sport and physical exercise can prevent obesity.

Unfortunately, obesity has rocketed in the last 30 years, whilst there has been little change in physical activity levels in the Western population. Through media hype, members of the public still believe that obesity is entirely due to a lack of exercise and that we can maintain a healthy weight through calorie counting.

Opinions on the validity of the study vary with other professionals adding to this debate. Speaking to the BBC, the Report’s author said, “that an obese person does not need to do any exercise at all, they just need to eat less.” The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, that recommends well balanced diets combined with physical activity, advises and has said that it would be unwise to rule out the importance of physical activity in weight loss.

Whilst a professor of Diet and Population Health at Oxford University, suggests that weight loss programmes, which combine diet and physical activity, are the most successful route to weight loss in both the short and medium term, the British Dietetic Association has reaffirmed this view by commenting that the report had downplayed the health benefits of undertaking even moderate exercise.

My own thought is that although Dr Malhotra could have elaborated further, reading between the lines I don’t think Dr Malhotra is ruling out exercise altogether. His claims weigh in on the back of media hype that exercise promotes weight loss, which through his own research has proven not to be the case.

If we are to lose weight, we must turn to our lifestyle and continue to include diet and physical activity.


12 Feb, 2016

6 thoughts on “Exercise & obesity

  1. There is clearly a relationship between poor diet, exercise and obesity. At it’s simplest, weight gain is a matter of consuming more calories than we burn. The less we consume, the less we need to exercise to balance what we eat.

    I completely agree with you that our approach must be a holistic one that includes all aspects of our lifestyle, including exercise and our emotional well-being too.

    That starts with educating our children both at home and in school.

    1. Thanks, yes I believe so too. I agree with you that educating our children starts at home, then should be continued in school.

      Good holistic practices including our emotional well-being should be continued throughout our natural lives. If we are to cut down on illness that needs to happen.

  2. The US falls behind Mexico as being the most obese country in the world. Unhealthy food is available everywhere and we aren’t made to walk, but drive.

    I don’t very much agree, not needing to exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight. However, I’ve met people (and are related to people) who work physically like horses, eat bad or not a lot and have an obesity issue.

    Having said that, maybe the doctor gave some good points to that theory. But no matter, exercise is good for everyone.

    1. Thanks Bonnie. I hear ya! You’ve hit the nail on the head though, in your first paragraph and I think we’re all guilty whether we live in the US or not.

      Portion sizes are also a problem in certain parts of the UK. The UK has an obesity problem too, so you’re not alone. Whatever our age, we must all continue to exercise and walk where we can.

  3. Amen to that!! It’s easy to look back just 60 yrs ago and see that people weren’t as overweight as now. Then society and lifestyle were different and people weren’t as heavy as they are now.

    1. We’re more aware of health implications. We have more information at our fingertips. In a way you would think it would be the other way round.

      Society is a lot more lazy than it used to be. Perhaps that has got something to do with it.

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