Physically Active Lifestyle Does Not Decrease the Risk of Fattening (2022)

  • Journal List
  • PLoS One
  • PMC2649442

PLoS One. 2009; 4(3): e4745.

Published online 2009 Mar 9. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004745

PMCID: PMC2649442

PMID: 19270740

Klaas R. Westerterp* and Guy Plasqui

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Jonatan R. Ruiz, Editor

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Abstract

Background

Increasing age is associated with declining physical activity and a gain in fat mass. The objective was to observe the consequence of the age-associated reduction in physical activity for the maintenance of energy balance as reflected in the fat store of the body.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Young adults were observed over an average time interval of more than 10 years. Physical activity was measured over two-week periods with doubly labeled water and doubly labeled water validated triaxial accelerometers, and body fat gain was measured with isotope dilution. There was a significant association between the change in physical activity and the change in body fat, where a high initial activity level was predictive for a higher fat gain.

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Conclusion/Significance

The change from a physically active to a more sedentary routine does not induce an equivalent reduction of energy intake and requires cognitive restriction to maintain energy balance.

Introduction

Doubly labeled water studies show that physical activity induced energy expenditure decreases on average with more than 50% between the age of 20–30 and over 65 [1]. Exercise training does not seem to prevent the age-associated decline in physical activity because of compensation by a decrease in non-training physical activity [1]. Thus, a physically active lifestyle inevitably results in a larger decrease of daily energy expenditure at later age than a sedentary lifestyle. Here, longitudinal measurements were performed to observe the consequence of the age-associated reduction in physical activity for the maintenance of energy balance as reflected in the fat store of the body.

Methods

Healthy, non-obese adults (17 women and 23 men; 27±5 yr; 22.8±2.0 kg m−2) participated in the study. All subjects gave written informed consent to participate in the study, which was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Maastricht University Medical Centre. Follow-up measurements were performed after 11±4 (range 6–16) yr. Total energy expenditure was measured by monitoring their metabolism with doubly labeled water over a two-week period, the optimal observation interval for the biological half-lives of the isotopes [2]. The physical activity level (PAL) is defined as the factor by which total energy expenditure exceeds resting energy expenditure, measured in the early morning with indirect calorimetry. All initial measurements and follow-up measurements in 22 subjects were performed with doubly labeled water. Additionally, all follow-up measurements of PAL, including the remaining 18 subjects, were performed over the same period with a doubly labeled water validated triaxial accelerometer [3]. Body fat was assessed with deuterium dilution.

Results

Body mass index, as a general indicator of body fatness, increased from 22.8±2.0 kg/m2 at baseline to 24.3±2.6 kg/m2 at follow-up (P<0.01, Table 1). Total energy expenditure showed a non-significant decrease and resting energy expenditure showed a non-significant increase, in combination resulting in a significant decrease of activity energy expenditure from 4.21±1.05 MJ/d to 3.92±1.19 MJ/d (P<0.05). The PAL value decreased significantly (P<0.01) from 1.81±0.16 (range 1.51–2.15) to 1.75±0.11 (range 1.58–2.03). A similar reduction (P<0.05), from 1.84±0.17 (range 1.51–2.15) to 1.74±0.16 (range 1.43–2.08), was observed in the subgroup of 22 subjects where both PAL measurements were performed with doubly labeled water. The decrease in PAL was related to the initial PAL value (r2 = 0.60, P<0.0001), where physically active subjects showed a larger reduction. At baseline, body mass index was negatively related to PAL (r2 = 0.25, P<0.001; Figure 1A), while at follow-up the relation had disappeared. (Figure 1B). The majority of the subjects showed an increase in body fat with a mean value of 0.34±0.30 kg yr−1 (P<0.0001). The rate of change of fat mass was positively related with baseline PAL (P<0.05) and inversely related to the difference in PAL between baseline and follow-up (P = 0.01; Figure 2). Thus, subjects with a higher PAL at baseline gained more fat.

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Figure 1

Body mass index as a function of the physical activity level at baseline (A) and at follow up (B).

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Linear regression analysis shows an inverse relationship at baseline (A, continuous line) and no relationship at follow-up (B, discontinuous line), 11±4 yr later, in 40 subjects.

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Figure 2

Change in fat mass as a function of the difference in physical activity level.

Physical activity level at baseline (PAL1) and at follow up (PAL2), 11±4 yr later, in 40 healthy subjects with body-mass indices within the normal range. Linear regression shows an inverse relationship between the change in PAL and the rate of fat mass change.

Table 1

Subject characteristics and energy expenditure at baseline and follow-up.

BaselineFollow-up
Age (y)27±539±8***
Body mass index (kg/m2)22.8±2.024.3±2.6**
Resting energy expenditure (REE, MJ/d)6.76±0.986.84±1.00
Toal energy expenditure (TEE, MJ/d)12.19±1.8211.95±1.77
Activity energy expenditure (0.9TEE-REE, MJ/d)1)4.21±1.053.92±1.19*
Physical activity level (TEE/REE)1.81±0.161.75±0.11**

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Discussion

The PAL of the subjects was typical for the general population, where doubly labeled water assessed PAL ranges between 1.5 and 2.1 for sedentary and very active people [4]. The earlier reported age associated reduction of PAL and the gain in fat mass was deducted from cross-sectional data, comparing young adults with elderly, and the two phenomena could not be linked together [1]. The current analysis shows a significant gain in fat mass in adults already from the age of 27±5 yr onwards, observed again after 11±4 (range 6–16) yr, and a close link with a change in PAL. Fat mass change ranged from a loss of 0.2 kg/yr to a gain of 1.1 kg/yr with an average gain of about 0.2 kg/yr in subjects not changing the PAL between baseline and follow-up, reflecting the fattening with increasing age corrected for the change in PAL.

In a laboratory study, Stubbs et al. showed that reducing the PAL from 1.8 to 1.4 over 7 days markedly affected energy balance. A change to a sedentary routine did not induce a compensatory reduction of energy intake and most of the excess energy was stored as fat [5]. Similarly, weight gain was observed in runners because of reductions in weekly exercise and was not reversed by resuming prior activity [6], showing that intake follows more an increase than a decrease in activity induced changes in daily energy expenditure. Here, a change from an active to a more sedentary life-style resulted in fat storage reflecting insufficient adaptation of food intake to a reduced energy requirement, even in the long term.

Footnotes

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Funding: The authors have no support or funding to report

References

1. Westerterp KR, Plasqui G. Physical activity and human energy expenditure. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2004;7:607–613. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

2. Speakman JR. Doubly-labelled water: theory and practice. London: Chapman & Hall; 1997. p. 399. [Google Scholar]

3. Plasqui G, Joosen AMCP, Kester AD, Goris AHC, Westerterp KR. Measuring free-living energy expenditure and physical activity with tri-axial accelerometry. Obes Res. 2005;13:1363–1369. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

4. Westerterp KR, Speakman JR. Physical activity energy expenditure has not declined since the 1980s and matches energy expenditures of wild mammals. Int J Obes. 2008;32:1256–1263. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

5. Stubbs RJ, Hughes DA, Johnstone AM, Horgan GW, King N. A decrease in physical activity affects appetite, energy, and nutrient balance in lean men feeding ad libitum. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;79:62–69. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

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6. Williams PT. Asymmetric weight gain and loss from increasing and decreasing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40:296–302. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

FAQs

What does being physically active reduce the risk of? ›

Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health, fitness, and quality of life. It also helps reduce your risk of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, depression and anxiety, and dementia.

How does physical activity reduce the risk of obesity? ›

Physical activity increases people's total energy expenditure, which can help them stay in energy balance or even lose weight, as long as they don't eat more to compensate for the extra calories they burn. Physical activity decreases fat around the waist and total body fat, slowing the development of abdominal obesity.

What are the risk of not engaging in physical activities and eating a lot with our present situation? ›

Not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease—even for people who have no other risk factors. It can also increase the likelihood of developing other heart disease risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

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Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body's immune system cells that fight disease.

Why do you think it is important to be physically healthy essay? ›

Importance Of Good Health Essay

Good physical health means fitness of one's body is maintained by good nutrition and exercises. This will leads to an efficient circulation, healthy immune system and strong musculoskeletal strength. As a result, an active life is allowed and risk of chronic disease is reduced.

What is the importance of physical activity essay? ›

Answer 1: Exercise helps people lose weight and lower the risk of some diseases. When you exercise daily, you lower the risk of developing some diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and more. It also helps to keep your body at a healthy weight.

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A well-rounded exercise routine, as part of a healthy lifestyle, may help you avoid things like falls, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Experts say that many of the conditions people think are due to getting older, in fact, have more to do with not moving around enough.

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Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits.

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Each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. We know 150 minutes of physical activity each week sounds like a lot, but you don't have to do it all at once.

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Physical fitness involves the performance of the heart and lungs, and the muscles of the body. And, since what we do with our bodies also affects what we can do with our minds, fitness influences to some degree qualities such as mental alertness and emotional stability.

Does physical activity reduce child obesity? ›

Obesity affects an increasing number of children and adolescents. Physical activity (PA) is a significant factor in the prevention of excessive body mass in the pediatric population.

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Unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as not getting enough physical activity and eating high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages, can raise your risk of overweight and obesity.

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"For weight loss, diet seems to be more effective than physical activity," he says. "You have to do huge amounts of physical activity to lose weight, but you can get a better energy deficit just by cutting down on calories."

What is the role of physical activity in your life as a student? ›

Students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance (e.g., memory), and classroom behaviors (e.g., on-task behavior). Higher physical activity and physical fitness levels are associated with improved cognitive performance (e.g., concentration, memory) among students.

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Being active has both physical and mental benefits. It improves your fitness, makes you stronger and helps you manage health conditions and stay out of hospital. Physical activity helps you take back control, be more independent and can help you live well for longer.

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Or exercise while watching TV (for example, sit on the floor and do sit-ups and stretches; use hand weights; or use a stationary bike, treadmill, or stair climber). Eat 3 healthy meals a day, including at least 4 servings of fruits, 5 servings of vegetables, and 4 servings of dairy products.

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Fitness is very important for good health. Besides feeling better mentally, exercising can help protect you from heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure; and it can make you look younger, increase and maintain bone density, improve the quality of your life, and may keep you from getting sick.

What do you think are the benefits you will get when you engage into different kinds of sports? ›

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What is the importance of engage in yourself in moderate to vigorous physical activities? ›

Increasing MVPA in PE has the greatest potential for increasing health benefits for most students as it generates more energy expenditure; contributes to obesity prevention and muscular and bone development; reduces anxiety and stress; improves self-esteem, mood and concentration; and reduces the risk of chronic ...

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Physical activity or exercise can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Most importantly, regular activity can improve your quality of life.

What will happen if you don't exercise regularly? ›

Your muscles weaken and lose bulk including the muscles you need for breathing and the large muscles in your legs and arms. You will become more breathless as you do less activity. If you continue to be inactive you will feel worse, need more help and eventually even simple daily tasks will be difficult.

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Is the most basic principle in physical activity that indicates doing more than normal for improvement to happen? ›

Overload Principle is the most basic principle that indicates doing “more than normal” for improvement to happen.

What is the importance of physical fitness and wellness Brainly? ›

Fitness is very important for good health. Besides feeling better mentally, exercising can help protect you from heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure; and it can make you look younger, increase and maintain bone density, improve the quality of your life, and may keep you from getting sick.

What can we do to be physically active and why is this important? ›

Popular ways to be active include walking, cycling, wheeling, sports, active recreation and play, and can be done at any level of skill and for enjoyment by everybody. Regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and manage noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several cancers.

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Physical activity is any body movement that works your muscles and requires more energy than resting. Walking, running, dancing, swimming, yoga, and gardening are a few examples of physical activity.

What are the positive effects of physical activity? ›

Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.

Does regular physical activity reduce risk of falls? ›

This review included 116 studies, involving 25,160 participants; nine new studies since the 2019 Cochrane Review. Exercise reduces the rate of falls by 23% (pooled rate ratio (RaR) 0.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.71 to 0.83, 64 studies, high certainty evidence).

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Physical activity makes people more resistant to osteoporosis. Loss of calcium causes bones to become more porous. Active people have a higher peak bone mass. Physical activity makes people more resistant to osteoporosis.

Does exercise Reduce risk of diabetes? ›

Patients vulnerable to type 2 diabetes can more than halve their risk of developing the disease by eating a low fat diet and taking half an hour of exercise a day, says new US research from the National Institutes of Health.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing any kind of physical activity? ›

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How much physical activity is needed for improved health benefits? ›

Each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. We know 150 minutes of physical activity each week sounds like a lot, but you don't have to do it all at once.

What is physical activity give an example? ›

Physical activity is any body movement that works your muscles and requires more energy than resting. Walking, running, dancing, swimming, yoga, and gardening are a few examples of physical activity.

How can you reduce the risk of falling? ›

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Who is at risk of falls? ›

Anyone can have a fall, but older people are more vulnerable and likely to fall, especially if they have a long-term health condition. Falls are a common, but often overlooked, cause of injury. Around 1 in 3 adults over 65 and half of people over 80 will have at least one fall a year.

How can you protect a patient at risk of falling? ›

3.2. 1. What are universal fall precautions?
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  3. Maintain call light within reach.
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Which of the following is a benefit of regular physical activity quizlet nutrition? ›

Terms in this set (75) What do the potential benefits of regular physical activity include? Enhanced heart function, less injury, better sleep habits, and improvement in body composition.

What is defined as the ability to perform moderate to vigorous activity without undue fatigue quizlet? ›

The ability to perform moderate to vigorous levels of physical activity on a regular basis without excessive fatigue constitutes physical fitness.

Which of the following exercises would be best for strengthening your bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis quizlet? ›

Weight-bearing activities have a positive effect on bone density, and walking is a weight-bearing activity. In young women, the goal is to increase bone mineral density; thus, walking is the best exercise to prevent osteoporosis in this woman.

How much does exercise reduce risk of heart disease? ›

How much: Ideally, at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. Examples: Brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis and jumping rope. Heart-pumping aerobic exercise is the kind that doctors have in mind when they recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity.

How can I reduce my risk of diabetes? ›

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Does exercise increase blood sugar? ›

If you're doing intense exercise, your blood sugar levels may rise, temporarily, after you stop. Exercise that's too hard can raise your blood sugar by making it harder for your muscle cells to use insulin.

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