Exercise isn t obesity cure

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674934_53254325jpgViewers of The Biggest Loser the popular TV show about extremely obese people who lose massive amounts of weight might be excused for thinking that exercise is the key to weight loss, since the show focuses mostly on participants exercise routines. But a recent article in U.S. News and World Report refutes this idea.

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, medical director of the Bariatric Medical Institute at the University of Ottawa, opines that the key to weight loss lies more in the kitchen than the gym.

Freedhoff also points to the results of a study in which men and women engaged in regular exercise for a year; men averaged 6.2 hours of exercise per week and women reached about 4.9 hours per week. At the end of the year, the men lost only 3.5 pounds, and women, 2.6 pounds. That translates to 91.5 hours of exercise per pound lost.

Dr. Freedhoff by no means suggests that regular exercise is a poor idea. He says There's no pill you can take and no food you can include or avoid that will give you the health benefits of regular exercise. It s just that exercise in and of itself likely won t do the trick for weight loss.

His essential point is that weight management is really dependent on diet rather than exercise, and policy makers addressing that issue should continue to focus more on energy intake rather than output. He thinks that diet is responsible for 80 percent of a person s weight and fitness unless one is extremely active.

ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava commented There s no question that people should exercise regularly by walking, running, or whatever they prefer. But if weight control is the goal, the emphasis must be on dietary control.