Fitness Could Be More Important Than Weight Loss for Reducing the Health Risks

According to a new review, published in the journal iScience, higher physical activity and better fitness levels can reduce the risk of obesity-related health conditions and mortality, even without weight loss.Fitness Could Be More Important Than Weight Loss for Reducing the Health Risks

The current meta-analysis found that cardiorespiratory fitness could significantly cut all-cause and cardiovascular disease-related mortality risk linked to high BMI. Moreover, fit individuals with excess body weight had a reduced risk of all-cause mortality compared to unfit people with weight within the healthy range.

Correspondingly, physical activity can reduce all-cause and cardiovascular disease-related mortality risk linked to high BMI, but the influence of physical activity on mortality risk is less pronounced than that of cardiorespiratory fitness.

The article’s co-author, Dr. Glenn Gaesser, professor at Arizona State University, says: “So if the goal of obesity treatment is to improve health and longevity prospects, it seems only logical that improving fitness should be emphasized more than weight loss. We would like to see current physical activity guidelines be an important focus of obesity treatment programs, with cardiorespiratory fitness assessed and monitored over time to document improvements in fitness.”

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