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Surprising Science

Exercise? Fat Lot of Good

New research finds that getting on the treadmill is much less effective for shedding girth than eating less.

The Times remarks that when in 1932 one of America’s leading obesity experts said his patients lost more weight in bed than when exercising, it was one of those “ha ha” moments in medical history comparable to doctors prescribing cigarettes “to clear the lungs”. But with 90 per cent of today’s children predicted to be overweight or obese adults the importance of exercise is uppermost in our psyches. But, recent studies show that the benefits of exercise to weight loss have been “over stated”. Professor Boyd Swinburn, director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, says: “This is provocative in many ways . . . but my concern is that if we put the emphasis on exercise we are unlikely to tackle the obesity problem as we are not driving at the root cause.”


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