Latest News & Research: 24 April 2018

This week: Heart-protecting fat? No such thing; The power of obesity-promoting environments + Exercise vs hereditary heart problems


Heart-protecting fat? No such thing

The findings of a new study appear to refute claims that there is a ‘good fat’ that protects the heart.

In recent years several studies have put forth the idea that there is a ‘healthy fat’ that protects the heart. Some studies have supported the ‘obesity paradox’ which proposes that obese and overweight people can have a reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and heart attack.

The new review of seven previous studies, led by Peter Clifton, a professor of nutrition at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, found that losing any type of fat will lower the risk of heart disease.

‘The bottom line is that any weight loss — regardless of whether it is fat or lean, backside, or abdomen — reduces cardiovascular risk factors [...] For lowering cholesterol, losing leg fat is just as important as losing abdominal fat’ Clifton concluded.

The power of obesity-promoting environments

There’s a theory that it’s not just physiological factors that make some people more likely to become overweight or obese, but also social factors. These obesity-promoting environments are defined as “the sum of influences that the surroundings, opportunities, or conditions of life have on promoting ­obesity in individuals or populations."

In a rodent study, scientists from Spain found that mice that were placed in an environment rife with opportunity for overeating adapted their behaviours based on changing food availability and, in short, developed binge eating habits.

Mara Dierssen, from the Centre for Genomic Regulation, and Rafael Maldonado, from the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona reported that; ‘Our results revealed that long-term exposure to hypercaloric diets impair the ability to control eating behaviour leading to negative effects on the cognitive processes responsible for a rational control of food intake.’

Exercise vs hereditary heart problems

If your family history shows that you have a predisposition to heart disease, it doesn’t mean that you just have to accept it. The findings of a new study suggest that you should just get moving and start fighting your genes!

A study of data from half a million people in the UK showed that even if you are genetically at higher risk of heart disease, a number of factors, including greater grip strength, physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness correlated with a reduced risk for heart attack and stroke.

In fact, those at intermediate risk, but who also had the strongest grip strength, were 36% less likely to develop coronary heart disease and 46% less likely to suffer stroke. Those at high risk, but who also had high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness had a 49% lower risk for coronary heart disease and 60% lower risk for stroke.

Erik Ingelsson, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and a professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in California said ‘The main message of this study is that being physically active is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, even if you have a high genetic risk’.

Could you or your business win a new Australian Fitness Award?

The evolution of Fitness Australia's industry awards have just taken a massive leap with the newly formed Australian Fitness Awards open to everyone in the fitness industry.

Bill Moore, CEO of Fitness Australia believes it’s an exciting time for the Australian fitness industry, with the introduction of the Australian Fitness Awards, in particular the rejuvenation of the business categories.

‘The 2019 Australian Fitness Awards include seven business categories, three categories for individuals, and one community award. Plus the new awards program is open for everyone in the fitness industry to nominate.’

In addition to the new categories, the awards also allow individuals and businesses to nominate themselves, as well as clients and customers being able to nominate them.

The awards provide opportunities to recognise and reward fitness industry professionals, businesses, educators and their students for their contribution, commitment and service to the Australian fitness industry.

The categories are:

Business Awards

  • PT Business of the Year
  • Boutique Business of the Year
  • 24 / 7 fitness business of the Year
  • Council / licensed Fitness Business of the Year
  • Independent Fitness Club of the Year
  • Chain Fitness Business of the Year
  • Quality Fitness Business of the Year

Individual Awards

  • Group Exercise Instructor of the Year
  • Personal Trainer of the Year
  • Fitness Student of the Year

Community Award

  • Community Excellence Award

Nominations open on 1 August 2018, so if you think that you, a colleague or your business are worthy recipients, express your interest at

Take part in the National Women’s Health Survey

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health has launched its annual Women’s Health Survey. The online survey is one of the country’s most revealing insights into the health concerns, fears and needs of women in Australia.

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is a national not-for-profit organisation committed to improving the knowledge of women's health throughout the various stages of their lives, and to providing a trusted world-class health service for women. Jean Hailes aim is to inspire confidence to create a healthier future for all women. After all, if a woman is well, so too is her family and her community.

‘The results of our annual women’s health survey are used in so many ways to help women and their health professionals,’ said Janet Michelmore AO, executive director of Jean Hailes; ‘One of the biggest benefits is that we use the insights to create free resources on topics such as anxiety, menopause and endometriosis. The results also help people across Australia have a better understanding of what women need in terms of support to lead a healthy and productive life and also inform the content for our annual Women’s Health Week campaign in September.’

Last year, more than 10,000 women responded to the survey. ‘We can only achieve these fantastic numbers again this year with your help’ said Michelmore.

The survey is anonymous and takes less than 10 minutes. The survey, now in its fourth year, closes on Tuesday 5 June. Click HERE to complete the survey, and HERE for information on printable flyers, social media artwork and email banners to get women in your club or fitness business involved.