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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1993 May;17(5):279-86.

Recreational physical activity and ten-year weight change in a US national cohort.

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Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Atlanta, GA 30333.


Clinical research has established that increases in physical activity cause weight loss among the obese, but less is known about the influence of physical activity on longer-term weight change in the general population. Data from the NHANES-I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study (1971-1975 to 1982-1984) were used to examine the relationship between self-reported recreational physical activity level (low, medium, high) and measured weight change after ten years among 3515 men and 5810 women aged 25-74 years. Cross-sectional analyses at both the baseline and follow-up surveys revealed that recreational physical activity was inversely related to body weight. Low recreational physical activity reported at the follow-up survey was strongly related to major weight gain (> 13 kg) that had occurred during the preceding ten years. The estimated relative risk of major weight gain for those in the low activity level at the follow-up survey compared to those in the high activity level was 3.1 (95% Cl = 1.6-6.0) in men and 3.8 (2.3-6.5) in women. In addition, the relative risk for persons whose activity level was low at both the baseline and follow-up surveys was 2.3 (0.9-5.8) in men and 7.1 (2.2-23.3) in women. However, no relationship was found between baseline physical activity level and subsequent weight gain among either men or women. The lack of a relationship may be due to mis-specification of physical activity because of changes in activity over time. These findings suggest that low physical activity may be both a cause and a consequence of weight gain.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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