Energy in versus energy out …versus environment and lifestyle factors

The findings of a recent study have added to the school of thought that questions whether the ‘energy in versus energy out’ equation is actually the best way to approach weight loss.

The studyby a team from York University’s Faculty of Health in the US considered the differences in the association between caloric intake, macronutrient intake and physical activity in relation to obesity. The results suggest that there may be other specific changes contributing to the rise in obesity beyond diet and exercise, and that the current generation has to work harder than ever to effectively manage a healthy weight.

Using dietary and physical activity frequency data from approximately 36,400 American adults collected by the National Health and Nutrition Survey between 1971 and 2008, the study found that for a given amount of self-reported food intake, people were, on average, 10 per cent heavier in 2008 than in 1971. The study also discovered that people were approximately five per cent heavier for a given amount of physical activity level in 1988 than in 2006. According to Ruth Brown, lead researcher at York University, ‘these secular changes may in part explain why we have seen the dramatic rise in obesity’.

Professor Jennifer Kuk, from the school of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University, explained that our bodies are heavily impacted by our lifestyle and environment, and therefore diet and exercise are not the only factors that contribute to weight management. Kuk suggests that other influences such as medication use, environmental pollutants, genetics, timing of food intake, stress, gut bacteria, and even night time light exposure can play a part in weight gain.

It is therefore imperative to consider lifestyle factors, as well as diet and exercise, when it comes to managing a healthy weight.

Source: Obesity Research and Clinical Practice