Physical Activity


Which physical activity is efficient for weight control ?


Association of Physical Activity Intensity Levels with Overweight and Obesity in a Population-Based Sample of Adults.

Prev Med 2003 (in press).

Clarify the association between physical activity intensity and overweight/obesity.
Population-based 1997–2001 survey in Geneva, Switzerland (n = 5,757, ages 35 to 74). Intensity of physical activity energy
expenditure (EE) defined as percentage of total EE in moderate activities [3–3.9  basal metabolism rate (BMR), e.g., normal walking,
household chores] and high-intensity activities (z4  BMR, e.g., brisk walking, sports). Overweight or obesity based on measured body
mass index (BMI).
Comparing participants in the lowest vs. the highest tertile of the percentage of high-intensity EE, the odds ratios (ORs) were, for
obesity vs. normal weight, 2.8 (95% confidence interval: 2.0–3.8, P < 0.0001) in men and 2.4 (1.7–3.4, P < 0.0001) in women. For obese vs.
overweight, the men/women ORs were 1.9 (1.4–2.6, P < 0.0001)/1.5 (1.0–2.2, P < 0.05). For overweight vs. normal weight, the men/women
ORs were 1.4 (1.1–1.7, P < 0.002)/1.7 (1.3–2.1, P < 0.0001). Less or no relationship was found for the percentage of moderate-intensity EE.
This cross-sectional study cannot determine whether exercise is an effective strategy for weight control or whether overweight
or obese people exercise less. However, clear dose–response associations in both genders between obesity or overweight and energy
expenditure in high (but not in moderate)-intensity activities are findings with potentially major public health implications meriting validation in
an experimental intervention study.

Body mass index; Body weight; Energy metabolism; Exercise; Obesity; Overweight


This study was partly supported by the Swiss National Fund for Scientific Research Grant no.32-37986.93.



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