Exercise and Obesity, Just Correlation?

Gretchen Becker Health Guide
  • Well it's about time they've figured this out!


    A recent British study has concluded that exercise doesn't prevent obesity. Instead, obesity prevents exercise.


    I've often said that this was probably true, especially when thin people smugly suggested that if only everyone would run like they did, there would be no "obesity epidemic."


    I've suggested to these thin people that they should try running with an extra 100 pounds strapped to their body in the form of water-filled balloons that bounced up and down as they ran. Needless to say, they didn't follow my suggestion.


    When you're thin, something like running can be fun. When you're fat and everything jiggles when you run, it's not much fun. It can even be painful. Have you ever noticed that champion female runners tend not to be D-cup people?

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    But society seems to have a strong need for moral censure and wants to believe that thin people are virtuous and thin because they exercise and fat people are lazy and fat because they don't. Now one study, at least, suggests that this isn't true.


    This study, called the EarlyBird study and published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, showed that weight and exercise were related. But physical activity had no effect on weight changes. Instead, weight gain led to less activity.


    I think there are a lot of other cases in which it's clear that two things are related, but we sometimes assign the cause to the wrong factor.


    For example, does weight gain cause insulin resistance or does insulin resistance cause weight gain?


    Does diabetes cause cardiovascular problems or do cardiovascular problems cause diabetes?


    Do high blood cholesterol levels cause metabolic problems or do metabolic problems cause high blood cholesterol levels?


    Sometimes, reversing a generally accepted cause-and-effect can lead to solutions that wouldn't have been thought of if we kept thinking in old, worn-out ways.






Published On: July 16, 2010