The world is facing major problems associated with the rapid increase in levels of overweight and obesity. Solving this problem via appropriate modifications to exercise habits and/or diet appears easy, but in practice it is inordinately difficult and only a small percentage manage to maintain their weight loss over the long term. However, a number of strategies can be used to increase the chances of success. Medical doctors, dieticians and other allied health professionals are potentially well placed to provide guidance to those at risk of overweight/obesity. This review is aimed at supporting major initiatives targeting an increase in community physical activity to help reduce the prevalence of overweight/obesity, such as the “Change4Life” campaign in the UK (http://www.nhs.uk/change4life) and the “Exercise is Medicine” campaign in the USA (http://www.exerciseismedicine.org). By providing a concise summary of the evidence-based research that can be easily understood by a wide range of health professionals, this review hopes to provide a useful document that can be used to enhance preventive counselling by promoting appropriate changes in lifestyle that will ultimately increase levels of physical activity, as well as reduce levels of overweight/obesity and other associated chronic hypokinetic conditions.
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