Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Importance of Diet and Exercise

The combination of exercise and diet is one of the cornerstones of weight loss, weight maintenance, and overall good health. Diet and exercise have been shown to be beneficial for both children and adults. Indeed, diet and exercise might improve cognitive ability as well as overall health.

One study has shown that exercise and healthy diet can improve a child's cognitive abilities, and prevent obesity. The researchers concluded that "Physical activity and healthy diets in early childhood are associated with better cognitive outcomes in young children." The researchers also indicated that "Given that the early childhood years are critical for both obesity prevention and neurocognitive development, evidence that the same healthy behaviors could promote both should inform future interventions."

In another study, the investigators concluded that three months of physical activity could not only improve a child's physical fitness, but physical activity could improve a child's ability to shift his or her attention from one situation to another -- and do it smoothly and quickly. The researchers concluded that physical activity "programs ... improved executive function-related set-shifting performance, as measured by the total number of errors" committed by the obese young adolescents in the study.

Still, it should be noted that if weight loss is the primary goal of an intervention, diet is usually more effective than exercise. In fact, some researchers have concluded that while "Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30%, ... physical activity does not promote weight loss."

But exercise is important to our health. And while diet is more effective than exercise for weight loss, the combination of diet and exercise will likely lead to better health. In fact, studies, including the studies referenced above, show the combination's importance. So bariatricians, bariatric surgeons, and other clinicians should always emphasize the value of both diet and exercise.



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