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Nutr Rev. 2006 Feb;64(2 Pt 2):S57-61.

Treatment and prevention of obesity: what is the role of exercise?

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  • 1Department of Health and Physical Activity, Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center, University of Pittsburgh, 140 Trees Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity highlight the need for improved intervention strategies to counteract this significant public health problem. To this end, it appears that increases in energy expenditure through exercise and other forms of physical activity may be an important component of effective interventions to enhance initial weight loss and the prevention of weight regain. However, to achieve these outcomes, adequate levels of exercise and physical activity appear to be necessary, with 60 to 90 min/d currently being recommended. While this appears to be a significant amount of activity, overweight and obese adults should be counseled to progressively increase to these levels of exercise and physical activity. Moreover, there is significant evidence that even if an overweight or obese adult is unable to achieve this level of activity, that significant health benefits can be realized by participating in at least 30 minutes of daily activity that is at least moderate in intensity. Therefore, it is important to have interventions that target these levels of physical activity to improve health-related outcomes and to facilitate long-term weight control.

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