Obesity and activity

It is a axiom that obesity and lack of activity go together. Ther are three interesting papers in the International Journal of Obesity on this topic. Overall the pointers substantiate the axiom.
The first examined the longitudinal relationship between occupational and domestic sources of physical activity and body weight in a sample of Chinese adults. In a population-based longitudinal observational study of Chinese adults (4697 women and 4708 men) aged 18–55 from the 1991, 1993, 1997, and 2000 waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey. The study measured height and weight and detailed self-reported energy expenditure from multiple occupational and domestic sources were assessed over a 9-year period.. Increased occupational physical activity resulted in overall lower body weight for both men and women and increased domestic physical activity resulted in overall lower body weight in men

A second study did not entirely support this. They analyzed whether elderly Iranians in Sweden have a higher mean body mass index (BMI) and are less physically active than elderly Swedes after adjustment for possible confounders. A total of 402 men and women (167 Iranian-born and 235 Swedish-born) aged 60–84 years residing in Stockholm, Sweden, were included in this population-based survey. Iranian participants were weighed and their height was measured. BMI values from the Swedish participants were based on self-reported data adjusted for the known discrepancy between objectively measured and self-reported weight and height. Overall, Iranian women had the highest mean BMI (29.2) of all subgroups. There was no significant difference in BMI between Swedish men and Swedish women or Iranian men. In contrast, Iranian women had significantly higher BMI than the reference group after adjustment for age, education and marital status. Iranians and Swedes had almost the same odds of once-weekly leisure-time physical activity.

The third was very interesting and assessed whether frequency of television viewing in adolescence (11 and 16 years) or early adulthood (23 years) affected subsequent changes in body mass index (BMI) through to mid-adulthood life, and waist–hip ratio in mid-adulthood. The 1958 British birth cohort includes all births in 1 week in March 1958 in England, Scotland and Wales. The main analyses included at least 11 301 participants. Outcome measures included BMI at 16, 23, 33 and 45 years and waist–hip ratio at 45 years. Watching television ‘often’ at 16 years (but not 11 years) was associated with a faster gain in BMI between 16 and 45 years in males. More frequent television viewing at 11, 16 and 23 years was associated with a faster gain in BMI between 23 and 45 years in females, but not in males. Television viewing at 23 years was associated with waist–hip ratio at 45 years: participants watching more than 5 times per week had a waist–hip ratio 0.01 higher than those watching less often. At 45 years, those watching television for 4 h per day had a waist–hip ratio 0.03–0.04 higher than those watching for less than1 h per day

K L Monda, L S Adair, F Zhai and B M Popkin (2008 ) Longitudinal relationships between occupational and domestic physical activity patterns and body weight in China European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 62, 1318–1325;
A Koochek, S-E Johansson, T O Kocturk, J Sundquist and K Sundquist
(2008) Physical activity and body mass index in elderly Iranians in Sweden: a population-based study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 62, 1326–1332;
T J Parsons, O Manor and C Power ( 2008 ) Television viewing and obesity: a prospective study in the 1958 British birth cohort European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 62, 1355–1363;


Martin Eastwood
Back to top