FRIDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Need to lose weight? Running will help more than walking, according to new research.
And to keep off those lost pounds, continue running, suggests Paul Williams, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, who compared weight loss and weight control in thousands of runners and walkers over six years.
The same amount of exercise in adults with a body mass index over 28 (deemed overweight) resulted in 90 percent greater weight loss for runners compared to walkers, he found.
"Running is more effective than walking in preventing weight gain and achieving weight loss," he said. Both groups shed pounds, but the runners lost more, Williams found.
That doesn't mean vigorous exercise is all you need to do to lose weight. "You do have to add dieting," he said. "Exercise is not by itself the most effective way."
More than one-third of adults in the United States are obese, putting them at risk of serious health risks such as diabetes and heart disease.
For the new study, published in the April issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Williams evaluated changes in body mass index (BMI) of more than 32,000 runners and more than 15,000 walkers. (BMI is a calculation of body fat based on height and weight). All enrolled between 1998 and 2001.
Participants reported their height and weight for the preceding five years. They also supplied their waist size and information on their workouts, including miles run or walked, the frequency, pace, and any other exercise they did.
Williams found some differences between runners and walkers. The walkers were older on average than the runners -- 53 compared to 41 years, respectively, for women; among men, 62 versus 48 years.
At the start, the runners also had a lower BMI. Male runners' average BMI was 24; women's was 22. Male
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