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Why current strategies for fighting obesity are not working
Date:7/3/2012

DENVER (July 3, 2012) As the United States confronts the growing epidemic of obesity among children and adults, a team of University of Colorado School of Medicine obesity researchers concludes that what the nation needs is a new battle plan one that replaces the emphasis on widespread food restriction and weight loss with an emphasis on helping people achieve "energy balance" at a healthy body weight.

In a paper published in the July 3 issue of the journal Circulation, James O. Hill, PhD. and colleagues at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center take on the debate over whether excessive food intake or insufficient physical activity cause obesity, using the lens of energy balance which combines food intake, energy expended through physical activity and energy (fat) storage to advance the concept of a "regulated zone," where the mechanisms by which the body establishes energy balance are managed to overcome the body's natural defenses towards preserving existing body weight. This is accomplished by strategies that match food and beverage intake to a higher level of energy expenditure than is typical in America today, enabling the biological system that regulates body weight to work more effectively. Additional support for this concept comes from many studies showing that higher levels of physical activity are associated with low weight gain whereas comparatively low levels of activity are linked to high weight gain over time.

"A healthy body weight is best maintained with a higher level of physical activity than is typical today and with an energy intake that matches," explained Hill, professor of pediatrics and medicine and executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the lead author of the paper. "We are not going to reduce obesity by focusing only on reducing food intake. Without increasing physical activity in the population we are simply promoting unsus
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Contact: Jacque Montgomery
jacque.montgomery@ucdenver.edu
303-928-9093
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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