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Exercise in the maintenance of weight loss: health benefits beyond lost weight on the scale
  1. Alysha C D'Souza,
  2. Kyle J Lau,
  3. Stuart M Phillips
  1. Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stuart M Phillips, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L8, Canada; phillis{at}

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A cavalier description of weight loss is that it only requires overweight people to eat less and move more. Such simplicity is, however, much harder to effect in the practice of obesity treatment.

Liraglutide is a drug used in obesity treatment that induces weight loss primarily through appetite suppression. Lundgren and colleagues used a 2×2 factorial design to examine the role of liraglutide and exercise in the maintenance of weight loss, employing control, exercise, liraglutide, and exercise plus liraglutide groups.1 When compared with the control group, it was found that the combination group was better at maintaining healthy weight loss than either monotherapy. While the study was a landmark, we felt that Lundgren and colleagues underemphasised the importance of exercise during weight-loss maintenance and its impact on other measures of overall health. Simply focusing only on lost weight undermines the numerous health advantages of exercise, including better mental health, the composition of lost weight and, importantly, improved fitness.2

Body composition

Bodyweight comprises two components: fat mass and fat-free mass (FFM), consisting of bone and lean soft-tissue mass.3 Much of the obesity-related disease risk is associated with fat mass and, more specifically, visceral fat, which is an undesirable location to accrue body …

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