Weight loss vs fitness for health risks

Executive summary

* A paper has just been published, which examined the benefits of increasing fitness and physical activity vs weight loss for reducing health risks.

* The paper focused on evidence for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

* It argued a number of interesting points: activity can largely mitigate obesity risk; and activity can improve cardio health. Conversely, weight loss does not necessarily improve mortality risk; and 'yo-yo dieting', which often happens, is unhealthy.

* The paper serves as an excellent summary of evidence for the mortality and CVD benefits of activity.

* It presented a compelling case for the benefits of exercise. The case for exercise being better than weight loss was less compelling, but this could be due to the absence of data on head-to-head comparisons between exercise and weight loss for mortality.

* The paper noted from the outset that the prevalence of obesity has increased over the past 40 years, as has the prevalence of weight loss attempts. Maybe exercise can be presented as better because the weight loss bar is so low.


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