Eat less; move more; live longer
You have read that phrase here a hundred times if you have read it once. Also, you are familiar with the fact that two thirds of us are overweight and half of them are outright obese. Because of that, the government is creating a National Physical Activity Plan.
In April the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) two-day workshop on solving the national problem of obesity summarized the state of the science of physical activity in prevention and treatment of obesity and it highlighted strategies to promote physical activities across different segments of the population.
Here are some of the findings:
Keynote speaker James O. Hill Ph.D, Executive Director of and Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, said strong evidence indicates that the net impact of adding physical activity to a weight loss program is a total increase in energy expenditure. In other words, most people lose weight. The few who gain weight do so because they increase their energy intake at the same time.
In other words if you eat less and move more and you will lose weight. I add the phrase ‘live longer’ because I would like to get the positive idea of living longer into people’s brains, rather than stopping at the losing weight part. That is the game not the candle.
Hill continued, “There is no magic here,” he said. Even more important than its effects on energy expenditure, in Hill’s opinion, is physical activity’s effect on the regulation of energy balance. He referred to the “amazing science” that has been conducted over the past decade on brain circuitry that regulates food intake and the way physical activity affects that circuitry, with important differences between people who occupy what he called the “regulated zone” versus the “unregulated zone.” People who occupy the regulated zone are physically active, and their bodies match intake and expenditure. People who occupy the unregulated zone, which Hill suspects is the majority of the human population, are physically inactive or not as physically active and their bodies are not doing a good job matching food intake and energy expenditure.
I have covered many of the benefits of exercise here including how the brain benefits from it far beyond the body’s firming muscles and burning fat. I am proud of the information on my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits). But, this brain circuitry information was news to me. It appears that the vehicle of the body like a car needs to be revved up and blown out on the expressway. You can’t just park it in the garage, or in the case of the body, on the couch, and expect to get peak performance out of it.
Ulf Ekelund, Ph.D, Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, said that evidence indicates a strong relationship between physical activity and other health outcomes, including all-cause mortality. Increasing physical activity by simply adding 20 minutes of brisk walking a day has shown to reduce risk of mortality by 24 percent in people of normal weight and 16 percent in people who are obese. Ekelund called for a greater focus on promoting physical activity for health rather than for weight.
It was truly gratifying to see professor Ekelund’s words about promoting physical activity for better health not just weight loss.