MONDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Riding a bike is as effective as walking briskly at helping premenopausal women keep from gaining more weight, a new study reveals.
Biking is particularly helpful at keeping pounds off such women who are overweight or obese, said study lead author Anne C. Lusk, a research fellow in the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
"Women of normal body weight can certainly benefit from biking," she noted. "But specifically for overweight and obese premenopausal women, bicycling just two to three hours per week makes them 46 percent less likely to gain more than 5 percent of their initial body weight over the long run."
Researchers also found that slow walking -- walking less than three miles an hour -- does not help control weight.
Lusk and her colleagues report their findings in the June 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
The authors point out that in 1995, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine recommended that all American adults engage in a half hour a day of moderately intense activity.
Despite the advisory, two-thirds of Americans are now either overweight or obese, Lusk and her team note, while 16 percent of American children and adolescents are overweight and one-third are at risk for gaining excess weight.
In earlier research, the study team had reported that brisk walking helped women who were at normal weight or had just lost slimmed down keep weight off, while slow walking showed no such benefit.
This time, the researchers decided to explore the potential health benefits that could be reaped if more women took up routine biking.
Just half of 1 percent of Americans over the age of 16 who commute to work use a bicycle. Of that group, only 23 percent are women, the authors note.
The authors lo
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