Modest Activity Fights Obesity

A report in the January 12, 2004 issue of the Archive of Internal Medicine that also was published on January 12, 2004 on the Web MD website, noted that “Walking 30 Minutes a Day Keeps Extra Pounds Away Without Dieting”. The research, conducted at Duke University Medical centre, compared the effects of three different exercise programs vs. no exercise at all on the weight and waist circumference of 120 sedentary overweight adults.

The participants in the study were told not to change their diet and were divided into three groups with differnet levels of exercise.

  1. High amount/vigorous: Equivalent to jogging about 20 miles per week at 60%-80% of maximal heart rate
  2. Low amount/vigorous: Equivalent to jogging 12 miles per week at 60%-80% of maximal heart rate
  3. Low amount/moderate: Equivalent to walking 12 miles per week at 40%-50% of maximal heart rate

What was not surprising about the findings was that researchers found that the more the participants exercised, the more weight they lost. However, what was very interesting was that low-amount / moderate intensity groups also showed significantly greater improvements than the non-exercise group. For example, compared with the non-exercisers, all groups significantly decreased their waist measurements.

Researcher Cris A. Slentz, PhD, of Duke University Medical centre noted, ” These findings strongly suggest that, absent other changes in diet, a higher amount of activity is necessary for weight maintenance. Most individuals can accomplish this by walking 30 minutes a day.”