Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Is Decreased Physical Activity the Main Cause of Today's Obesity?

Some investigators believe that a decrease in physical activity, over the past years, has done more to make us heavier than an increase in calorie intake. These investigators suggest that our calorie intake has not changed that much over the years. However, we think that it can be argued that while the calorie intake may not have changed over the past years, the content of our diet has changed. And this change might partially explain our weight increase. Still, the importance of exercise should be emphasized, and barriers to exercise ought to be removed.

According to some researchers, "America's growing obesity problem is mostly the consequence of its increasingly sedentary lifestyle, not its growing calorie count." For example, the researchers found that in 1944 only about eleven percent of men admitted that they got no exercise, while in 2010, approximately forty-four percent of men admitted that they got no exercise. The researchers went on to suggest that although the amount of exercise decreased during this period, calorie intake did not change.

But even if the calorie intake is about the same today as in the past, the food we eat has changed over the years.  Today's diet, for example, contains more sugar. Indeed, we are drinking more sugary soft drinks and fruit juices. So, we need to consider more than the calories in the food we eat. We need to look at the nutritional value in the food we eat.

Still, physical activity may have decreased over the years. And we should do what we can to emphasize the importance of exercise, and to remove the barriers to exercise. And these barriers do exist.

For example, one study indicates that "Local weather affects Americans' levels of exercise and their risk for obesity..." The study concludes that "Adults ... get less exercise and are more likely to be obese in counties where winters are especially cold..." And  "Many of the counties where exercise levels are lowest and obesity rates highest are in the Southeast, where summers are hot and wet..." Perhaps, making controlled environments more available might be one way to remove the "weather" barrier to exercise.

While there are many unanswered questions about diet and there are obstacles to exercise, there is little doubt that exercise and diet are important for good health. Therefore, weight loss and weight management providers should work with individuals to find the most appropriate diet-exercise combination.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Subscribe to Overfat Strategy Blog by Email