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Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-094911
  • Editorial

It is time to bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity: you cannot outrun a bad diet

Press Release
  1. S Phinney3
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, Frimley Park Hospital and Consultant Clinical Associate to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  2. 2Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town and Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Newlands, South Africa
  3. 3School of Medicine (Emeritus), University of California Davis, Davis, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr A Malhotra, Department of Cardiology, Frimley Park Hospital and Consultant Clinical Associate to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges; aseem_malhotra{at}hotmail.com
  • Accepted 8 April 2015
  • Published Online First 22 April 2015

A recent report from the UK's Academy of Medical Royal Colleges described ‘the miracle cure’ of performing 30 min of moderate exercise, five times a week, as more powerful than many drugs administered for chronic disease prevention and management.1 Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30%. However, physical activity does not promote weight loss.

In the past 30 years, as obesity has rocketed, there has been little change in physical activity levels in the Western population.2 This places the blame for our expanding waist lines directly on the type and amount of calories consumed. However, the obesity epidemic represents only the tip of a much larger iceberg of the adverse health consequences of poor diet. According to The Lancet global burden of disease reports, poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined. Up to 40% of those with a normal body mass index will harbour metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity, which include hypertension, dyslipidaemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.3 However, this is little appreciated by scientists, doctors, media writers and policymakers, despite the extensive scientific literature on the vulnerability of all ages and all …

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