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For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
Date:1/8/2010

Study found better health outcomes in those who worked out while dieting

THURSDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- If you're vowing to lose weight this year, consider adding a regular exercise program while you're cutting calories.

Combining the two results in better health outcomes -- such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels -- than simply cutting calories alone, a new study finds.

"It's better to lose weight with a combination of caloric reduction and exercise rather than caloric reduction alone," said study author Dr. Enette Larson-Meyer, an assistant professor of family and consumer science at the University of Wyoming.

For the six-month study, the researchers assigned 36 overweight men and women, average age 39, to one of three groups. One group cut calories by 25 percent. The second cut calories by about 12.5 percent and exercised enough to increase energy output by 12.5 percent. A control group simply stayed on a weight-maintenance diet.

At the study's end, both the caloric-restriction group and the caloric-restriction plus exercise group lost about 10 percent of their body weight. The average weight at the study start was about 178 pounds, so the loss at the end was about 17 pounds on average.

The exercise prescription varied according to body weight at the start, but typically men walked for 50 minutes at a brisk pace five days a week, and women, 45 minutes five times a week, Larson-Meyer said. They could choose their preferred activity and intensity, however.

At the end, those who included exercise had better health outcomes, according to the study published in the January issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

"The big improvement was related to blood pressure," Larson-Meyer said. The exercising and dieting group had greater blood pressure improvements, and improvement in cholesterol and insulin sensitivity, too, she sai
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