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Why exercise is more important than losing weight for a longer life

In other studies from Dr. Gaesser’s lab, however, overweight and obese people with significant health problems, including high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, or insulin resistance, a marker of type 2 diabetes , showed dramatic improvements in these conditions after starting to exercise, whether or not they lost weight. Seeing these results, Dr. Gaesser began to wonder if fitness could allow overweight people to enjoy good metabolic health, regardless of their body mass count, and potentially live as long as people who are overweight. thin – or even longer, if thin people were absent. of shape.

So for the new study, which was published this month in iScience, he and his colleague Siddhartha Angadi, a professor of education and kinesiology at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, began scouring the databases of search for previous studies related to diet, exercise, fitness. , metabolic health and longevity. They were particularly interested in meta-analyses, which pool and analyze data from multiple previous studies, allowing researchers to look at the results of far more people than in most individual weight loss or exercise studies. , which tend to be small scale.

They ended up with over 200 relevant meta-analyses and individual studies. Then they set out to see what all of this research, involving tens of thousands of mostly obese men and women, indicated about the relative benefits of weight loss or fitness for improving metabolisms. and longevity. Indeed, they asked if someone who is heavy gets more health from losing weight or getting up and moving.

The contest, they found, was not tight. “Compared head-to-head, the magnitude of benefit was much greater in improving fitness than in losing weight,” Dr. Gaesser said.

Overall, the studies they cite show that sedentary, obese men and women who begin to exercise and improve their physical fitness can reduce their risk of premature death by up to 30% or more. even if their weight does not move. This improvement typically puts them at a lower risk of premature death than people considered normal weight but in poor shape, Dr. Gaesser said.


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