Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 29 July 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:308

Young people from Alabama, Illinois, Minnesota, and California who were recruited into a national cohort in 1985 had put on between seven and 12 kg in weight by 1996 (American Journal of Epidemiology 2000;151:1172-81). The largest weight gains occurred in people who were already obese in 1985. Trends are set to continue, say the researchers, whose figures show a relentless rise in weight across the whole cohort.

Eating less and exercising more is the quickest way to lose weight. People who can't face doing both, however, often choose the diet option and skip the exercise. They would do better if they skipped the diet and started exercising, says a study in Annals of Internal Medicine (2000;133:92-103). In a randomised trial, obese men who ran off 700 kilocalories (2926 kJ) a day lost 1.3 kg more weight than men who restricted their diet by 2926 kJ a day. The exercise group also got fitter.

Fitness instructors may be better qualified than general practitioners to advise older people about exercise. In one Australian trial, however, advice from a fitness instructor with a master's degree in exercise physiology produced the usual increase in activity levels but had no impact on cardiovascular risk factors …

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