Exercise training can help support management of overweight and obesity in adults and can contribute to health benefits beyond ‘scale victories’. The supplement published in Obesity Reviews, based on the work of an expert group convened under the auspices of the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), provides scientific evidence on the health and well-being benefits of exercise training for people living with overweight and obesity.
Supplement highlights include a summary of key recommendations; additional developed materials provide infographic tools for healthcare practitioners (HCPs) and people who are overweight or living with obesity; and a written interview with Professor Jean-Michel Oppert, who coordinated development of these important new physical activity recommendations.
Professor Oppert said: ‘It is common sense that adopting new behaviours, primarily regarding eating and physical activity, represents a cornerstone of obesity management. However, this is everything but an easy undertaking. Physical activity, understood in its broadest sense as any bodily movement that expends some energy above resting level, plays a central role in energy balance.
‘Its function in obesity management however goes much beyond calories burned. For example, studies over the last two decades have shown in both men and women the value of higher physical fitness for increased longevity independent of weight status, a very positive message both for patients and for health care professionals.’
Several organisations have already acknowledged the important role of physical activity when it comes to managing obesity. According to Harvard Medical School: ‘Most physical activity can help people lose weight, but the researchers found that the best activities for maintaining a healthy weight for those with a genetic link to obesity were, in order, jogging, mountain climbing, walking, power walking, dancing, and long yoga sessions.’
Meanwhile, the Obesity Medicine Association says: ‘Exercise is not always easy, yet it is often suggested as a solution to weight loss as if it were effortless. It is important to remember that there are several challenges that create boundaries for engaging in physical activity. Finding strategies to overcome barriers to physical activity is essential to obtain physical fitness goals and ensure not only proper weight loss, but most importantly weight maintenance.’
On top of this, exercise science and kinesiologists understand the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight and can identify strategies to help their patients meet weight loss goals. And as trained professionals, their exercise-based approach to combating obesity is backed by scientific evidence.
With obesity becoming a global health problem, especially following the lockdowns, the findings published in Obesity Reviews presents exciting opportunities for future research directions.