Can physical fitness fight obesity? Harvard Health Blog


In a recent study, researchers attempted to answer the question posed in the title of this post. Before delving into the results of this study and how they fit into what we already know on the topic, let’s define some key terms.

What do we mean by fitness and obesity?

FitnessAlso referred to as cardiovascular fitness or cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), it is a measure of the performance of the heart, lungs, and body muscles. Muscle performance includes measurements of both strength and endurance. Because of the connections between mind and body, fitness also has an effect on mental alertness and emotional stability. Maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max), a laboratory measure of the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during exercise, is the optimal measure of CRF. However, self-reported physical activity is often used as an alternative to vocal speaking2 Max is in research studies because it is much easier and less expensive to evaluate.

Obesity, as I have discussed In a previous blog postIt can be defined in many different ways. Body mass index (BMI), which is a calculation of your size that takes into account your height and weight, is most commonly used. However, we know that such measures The percentage of body fatAnd Waist circumference, waist to hip, ratio and waist to height ratio Much more than BMI tells us about a person’s health, metabolic risks, and risk of death. However, due to the relative ease and cost of this measurement, BMI is commonly used in research studies.

What was the aim of the research study?

return to Recent study Posted in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, The researchers wanted to study the “fitness but obesity” paradox. As described by some studies, the fitness paradox with fat suggests that obese and also active individuals can experience a reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease that replaces the effect of their weight gain.

To address this paradox, our researchers evaluated the association between different BMI categories, levels of physical activity, and the prevalence of three cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors: high blood pressure (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, and diabetes. This was a large, observational cross-sectional study that collected data from 527,662 participants at a specific point in time, without any follow-up period.

They used Standard cut for BMI To classify people as normal weight, overweight and obese. The levels of physical activity were as follows: inactive (not performing any moderate or vigorous physical activity); Insufficiently active (less than 150 minutes a week of moderate activity or less than 75 minutes a week of vigorous physical activity); He is active regularly (150 minutes or more per week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes or more per week of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of the two).

What are the results of the research study?

The researchers concluded that regular activity or insufficient activity protected against high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, compared to inactivity. Protection was dose-related for high blood pressure and diabetes, which means that higher activity levels reduce risk even more.

However, regular and insufficient physical activity did not compensate for the negative effects of being overweight or obese. In other words, overweight or obese individuals had a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than their normal weight counterparts, regardless of levels of physical activity.

These results add to existing evidence that physical activity reduces – but does not eliminate – the effects of being overweight or obese on CVD risk.

What does this study mean to me?

Although the results of this study may lead some to believe that all efforts to improve health and longevity should be directed towards managing weight, we should not ignore the non-weight-related benefits of exercise, including improved energy metabolism, oxidative stress, inflammation, repair. Tissue and Immunology.

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of chronic disease, so your doctor may recommend weight-loss treatments such as behavioral and lifestyle changes, medications, bariatric surgery, or a combination of the above. However, it must be remembered that obesity itself is a chronic disease, and often the affected individual does not have immediate control over it.

But the thing we can control is our level of physical activity. Whether that means running, walking, swimming, dancing, or light weight lifting, we can always move more, and if that helps us improve our health even a little, then this is a win-win situation.


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