*sigh*

Mar. 25th, 2010 02:37 pm
telophase: (Jiraiya don't play that shit)
I really hate misleading articles and studies. Witness: this BBC news article on a study of women which suggests that you need to exercise at least an hour a day to stay slim.

It followed 35,000 women over 13 years, and only the women who exercised an average of an hour a day or more did not gain weight over that thirteen years.

You know how much the average weight gain over that thirteen years was? "The average age of the women was 54, and the average weight gain was 2.6 kg over the 13 year period."

FIVE POUNDS. FIVE FREAKIN' POUNDS.

OH NOEZ! I GAINED FIVE POUNDS IN THIRTEEN YEARS! I'M A FAT SLOB GOING TO DIE OF A HEART ATTACK ANY DAY NOW

I think a gain of five pounds in thirteen years is (a) not enough to call you "not slim" unless you happen to be, say, a cat, and (b) completely negligible when it comes to health effects. Not to mention that as you age, those who are slightly clinically overweight appear to have significantly lower mortality rates than those who are "normal" weight, so you probably want those five pounds if you were slim to start with.

I will be right up there saying that as we evolved in a high-exercise environment, getting lots of exercise is a good idea, but the health significance of that hour a day has nothing to do with the five pounds not gained and a lot more to do with how exercise conditions your muscles, bones, hormones, etc.

ETA: Gah, reading the article again made me even angrier. You see, the weight-gain preventative effect was only present in those of "normal" weight to begin with, and absent in those who were already overweight at the beginning of the study. So instead of saying that perhaps exercise doesn't have anywhere near as much to do with weight loss as previously thought, and that maybe it has a lot more to do with what we eat, they said instead that overweight people might have to exercise more, up to 90 minutes a day, to prevent weight gain of that eeeeevil five pounds.

I guess me losing 50 pounds in 2007 when exercising 20 minutes a day didn't really happen, huh? I made a vow that I wouldn't exercise more than an hour a day unless I was training for something specific, because for me, that felt too much like obsessive behavior. I'm trying to get into the exercise habit again because of the gains in health, the prevention of osteoporosis, the ability to stay active in my later years, etc.

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