Scientists say people 30 years ago could eat more and exercise less and still keep the weight off
By doing exactly the same amount of exercise and eating the same number of calories, people in 2006 registered an average BMI (body mass index)of 2.3 points higher than in 1988.
The data led researchers from York University in Toronto to conclude that “factors other than diet and physical activity may be contributing to the increase in BMI over time.”
“Our study results suggest that if you are 40 years old now, you’d have to eat even less and exercise more than if you were a 40 year old in 1971, to prevent gaining weight,” Professor Jennifer Kuk said.
People who reported eating the same amount of food were about 10 percent heavier in 2008 than 1971, the study found.
Those in 2006 who did the same amount of exercise as their counterparts in 1988 weighed five percent more.
The findings suggest the simple formula of eating less and moving more can be ineffective for weight loss in the long term. It could help explain why obesity is on the rise.
“Weight management is actually much more complex than just ‘energy in’ versus ‘energy out’,” Professor Kuk said.
“That’s similar to saying your investment account balance is simply your deposits subtracting your withdrawals and not accounting for all the other things that affect your balance like stock market fluctuations, bank fees or currency exchange rates.”
Lifestyle and environment also influence weight, including factors like medication use, genetics, the time you eat and stress.