If you maintain or improve your fitness level -- even if your body weight has not changed or increased -- you can reduce your risk of death, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
In a study of 14,345 adult men, mostly white and middle or upper class, researchers found that:
BMI is a measurement based on weight and height (kg/m2). MET measures the intensity of aerobic exercise – specifically, the ratio of metabolic rate during a specific physical activity to a reference rate of metabolic rate at rest.
"This is good news for people who are physically active but can't seem to lose weight," said Duck-chul Lee, Ph.D., the study's lead researcher and physical activity epidemiologist in the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health in Columbia. "You can worry less about your weight as long as you continue to maintain or increase your fitness levels."
Results of the study underscore the importance of physical inactivity as a risk factor for death from heart disease and stroke, said researchers. Researchers also found no association between changes in body fat percentage or body weight and death risk.
Participants, who were an average 44 years old, were part of the long-term, large-scale Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. They underwent at least two comprehensive medical exams.
Researchers used maximal treadmill tests to estimate physical fitness (maximal METs), and height and weight measurements to calculate BMI. They recorded changes in BMI and physical fitness over six years. After more than 11 years of follow-up, researchers determined the relative risks of dying among men who lost, maintained or gained fitness over six years. They accounted for other factors that can affect outcomes, including BMI change, age, family history of heart disease, beginning fitness level, changes in lifestyle factors such as smoking and physical activity, and medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
One possible explanation for these results: about 90 percent of the men were either normal weight or overweight at the beginning of the study. Among obese people, changes in BMI might have a significant effect on death risks. So it's unclear whether these results would apply to severely obese people, Lee said.
A BMI score under 25 is considered healthy, 25 to less than 30 is overweight, and 30 or greater is obese.
Because the study was mostly done in white middle and upper class men, it's difficult to know whether the results apply to other racial and socioeconomic groups. Women would likely have similar results as the men in the study, Lee said.
American Heart Association: http://www.americanheart.org
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
There's a new contender in the century-old quest for perfect, guiltless sweetness: allulose. It's sugar — but in a form that our bodies don't convert into calories. Perfect? Not quite.
Researchers say findings may have important public health implications as vitamin supplements are relatively safe and cost-effective
Sarcoptic mange can leave southern hairy-nosed and bare-nosed wombats blind and deaf before eventually killing them
Annual vaccinations could be a thing of the past as scientists have successfully tested vaccines on animals infected with different strains of influenza
Remember winter, when everything was cold and grey? Right now, when all around is lush and green, the contrast couldn’t be greater. But is everything really as it seems? New research shows that we see things differently in winter compared with summer.
We now know how to turn fat cells into ones that burn calories as heat rather than store them – raising the prospect of a gene therapy for obesity
A growing body of research suggests that doctors' racial biases and other prejudices continue to affect the care patients received. Medical educators say self-awareness is an important first step.
A new study renews questions about how aggressively doctors should treat a very early form of breast cancer or pre-cancer.
Addyi gains US marketing licence after third attempt, but questions remain about its effectiveness, potential side-effects and the true need for the drug
Increasingly taken by healthy people to improve focus before exams, after a comprehensive review researchers say modafinil is safe in the short-term