Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Two Hundred Seventy Five Minutes per Week

A new study that is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, reported that the commonly recommended physical activity levels (150 minutes per week) are not good enough to maintain weight loss. They concluded that 275 minutes of physical activity per week , in combination with a reduction in calorie intake, is important to maintain a weight loss of more than 10%. The study was conducted on 201 overweight and obese women with body mass index ( BMI) of 27 to 40.

The basics of achieving weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight have always been the same:

(1) Dietary management: portion control and high quality food.
(2) Increasing the activity level: by exercising, and by leading a physically active attitude during everyday normal activities.

This study validated the combined approach and, furthermore, has set a new recommendation for physical activity. Although the study is not a post-surgery study, the recommendations are valid for postoperative bariatric surgery individuals. The surgery is just a tool to achieve weight loss that cannot be achieved otherwise in a majority of people.


Jakicic JM, Marcus BH, Lang W, Janney C. Effect of exercise on 24-month weight loss maintenance in overweight women. Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jul 28;168(14):1550-9. [PMID: 18663167] (Abstract)

Affiliations: University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Food Diary Works!

Probably it is not new knowledge that recording a diary of the food intake and exercise activities does help. Now, a new study from Portland, Oregon has verified the positive outcomes of keeping a food diary. The weight loss actually doubled to 18 pounds in 20 weeks, compared to 9 pounds, by using that method. So, here is a nice simple tool that can go a long way, and that needs only a pencil and a sheet of paper. Remember, the best time to enter your food intake into your diary is right on the spot. Once you're done with the meal. For more coverage of this subject, you can go to an article in Informify News and an article in the Washington Post.

Somewhat related, is an old report published in 1992 in the New England Journal of Medicine (Abstract). It showed that, among obese individuals who repeatedly failed to lose weight despite reporting adherance to a 1200 Kcal-per-day diet, the study group underreported their actual food intake by an average of 47%, and overreported their physical activity by an average of 51%.

Stay Healthy!


Hollis JF, Gullion CM, Stevens VJ, Brantley PJ, Appel LJ, Ard JD, Champagne CM, Dalcin A, Erlinger TP, Funk K, Laferriere D, Lin PH, Loria CM, Samuel-Hodge C, Vollmer WM, Svetkey LP; Weight Loss Maintenance Trial Research Group. Weight loss during the intensive intervention phase of the weight-loss maintenance trial. Am J Prev Med. 2008 Aug;35(2):118-26. [PMID: 18617080] (Abstract)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

At what age do we stop being so active?

I wondered, at what point in our lives have we shifted from running to walking? From moving a lot to moving only if we need to? Basically, when does our moderate-to-vigorous activity level shift from the tireless running allover the place to the more adult-like style of moving when we need to? A very interesting study, published in the July 16, 2008 issue of JAMA gave some insight. The authors analyzed the data of more than 1000 children, almost half of them were boys and the other half were girls. The researchers followed their patterns of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity from age 9 to age 15. They found that at 9, the average child engaged in good 3 hours of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, which is well more than the recommended minimum of 60 minutes per day. By age 15 years, adolescents were active at that level for only 49 minutes per weekday and 35 minutes per weekend day. Boys were more active than girls. It is well-known that decreased physical activity is an important factor in childhood obesity.

I am not sure what exactly happens. Why at some point in our lives we start walking if we don't have to run, and sit if we don't have to walk? At any rate, knowing that the transition takes place between the ages of 9 and 15, we can target that time interval and aim at keeping children engaged in organized moderate-to-vigorous activities during that period, hoping that the habit continues with them for so many more years of their lives.


Nader PR, Bradley RH, Houts RM, McRitchie SL, O’Brien M.
Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity From Ages 9 to 15 Years.
JAMA. 2008;300(3):295-305. (Abstract)

Affiliations of the authors of the reference article: Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla; Center for Applied Studies in Education, University of Arkansas, Little Rock; Statistics and Epidemiology, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of North Carolina, Greensboro.