Exercise important factor in changing obesity levels

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 15, 2007

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If it isn't already clear that weight loss and exercise are beneficial to health, a natural, and probably unique, population-wide experiment provides additional evidence.

A study in the Sept. 19 American Journal of Epidemiology reported on the health impact of population-wide weight loss that took place in Cuba from 1989 to 2000 as a result of an economic crisis in that nation. The drop in available food resulted in substantial declines in daily energy intake. Physical activity, however, continued at a high level, since bicycles and walking were the primary means of transportation.

During that period, obesity levels dropped in Cuba from 14.3% in 1991 to 7.2% in 1995. There were also substantial declines in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and all-cause mortality, the researchers reported.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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