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Exercise and obesity

McInnis, Kyle J

Review in Depth: Exercise in the modification of cardiovascular disease risk: biologic mechanisms.

The prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically during the past decade in the USA. This is despite an estimated 50 million Americans who try to lose weight each year. The increasing prevalence of obesity is particularly alarming due to the numerous health implications associated with this condition, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cancer, and various musculoskeletal conditions. The economic impact of treating illnesses associated with obesity has been estimated to be US$40 billion in the USA. Dieting is largely ineffective in maintaining initial weight loss as numerous studies suggest the majority of dieters regain all lost weight with 3–5 years. On the other hand, regular exercise has been shown to be one of the best predictors of successful weight maintenance. Moreover, studies indicate that improved fitness through regular physical activity reduces cardiovascular morbidity and mortality for overweight individuals even if they remain overweight. Providing advice about exercise to overweight or obese individuals requires explicit information about the frequency, intensity, duration, and type of physical activity that should be performed. The ultimate goal for the exercising obese patient is to make a life-long commitment to achieving reasonable energy expenditure through routine physical activity.

Department of Human Performance and Fitness, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence and requests for reprints to Kyle J. McInnis, ScD, Department of Human Performance and Fitness, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA 02125, USA. Fax: +1 617 287 7527

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.