What’s the connection between inactivity and obesity?: It’s not as clear as you might think

Recent reports on the extremely low levels of physical activity in the Canadian population tell us that few Canadians (7% of kids and 15% of adults) are meeting recommended levels of physical activity.

Does this explain increases in percent of the population counting as overweight or obese? Not so fast. In Inactivity Does Not Explain Canada’s Obesity Epidemic  Dr Arya Sharma notes that  the real take-home message is that physical activity levels are low in all groups, not just among those who are overweight and obese.

From Dr Sharma:

…if we convert the rather modest differences in MVPA levels taking into account the increased effort required to move higher body weights, we would find almost no difference in actual calories spent in activities to account for any difference in body weights. Thus, to me at least, these data pretty much blow to pieces the widely held bias that overweight and obesity can be largely explained by lack of activity or that overweight and obese individuals are less physically active (read “lazy”) than “normal” weight individuals.

He concludes,

Continuing to link the necessary discussion about inactivity to the problem of obesity is not only scientifically unfounded but, by dangerously and unfairly reinforcing stereotypes (not reflected in the actual data), may well do more harm than good when it comes to tackling both the epidemic of obesity and the epidemic of sedentariness.

Read the rest. It’s a very interesting post.

Tea-Time

About Sam B

Philosopher, feminist, parent, and cyclist!

5 thoughts on “What’s the connection between inactivity and obesity?: It’s not as clear as you might think

  1. Red Hen says:

    Oh well. I still say it at least can`t do any harm to move more and more likely than not, does an enormous amount of good. I am just surprised at how low the activity levels are. I guess we`re all moving a lot less than we`d like to think.

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  2. […] link between training and fat loss.  It’s just the flipside of what Sam blogged about in her post about the not-as-simple-as-we-like-to-think link between inactivity and […]

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  3. AlexK says:

    but inactivity is related to a higher morbidity and morality, not just obesity. i didn’t think anyone was linking inactivity just to obesity. you can prematurely die of cardiovascular disease without being obese.

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  4. Stephanie says:

    This is also discussed by researchers who use animal test subjects as the mice, rats, monkeys, and other animals they study are showing as similar increase in obesity and their activity levels and food intake are entirely controlled.

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