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.