Researchers examined more than 200 previous studies on the topic
A new study indicates that consistent exercise — not just weight loss — contributes more toward a healthier and longer life.
The study, led by Glenn Geiser of Arizona State University in Phoenix, analyzed the relationship between fitness, weight, heart health and longevity. The results showed that even for people who are overweight or obese, exercise reduces the risk of heart disease and premature death far more than losing weight or dieting.
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“A weight-neutral approach to treating health conditions related to obesity may be as effective or more effective than a weight-loss-focused approach, and may avoid the pitfalls associated with repeated weight loss failure,” Study concluded.
Geser has studied the effects of physical activity on people’s body composition and metabolism for decades. the new York Times. He collaborated with Siddharth Angadi, a professor of education and kinesiology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, to conduct an analysis of more than 200 meta-analyses and individual studies.
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“In a head-to-head comparison, the amount of benefit from improving fitness was much greater than from losing weight,” Gesser wrote.
The results indicated that exercise or improved fitness reduced the risk of premature death by 30% among sedentary, obese men and women, even if they did not lose weight.
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However, focusing just on losing weight didn’t change the risk much: the risk dropped by about 16%, but not in all studies.
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“Before prescribing exercise, health care professionals should risk-stratify their patients based on the ACSM preparticipation screening guidelines,” Gesser suggested. “After risk stratification, health care professionals may provide an exercise prescription or alternatively or provide a PA referral to a qualified exercise professional.”