Despite appearances, overall physical activity levels have remained constant for the last quarter of a century during which time weight levels have rocketed, Professor John Speakman said at the British Science Festival in Birmingham.
He claimed that the average man burned 1380 calories per day in the 1980s and continues to do so today. The average woman has burned 950 calories a day during the same period. What has changed is that calorie intake has increased by at least a third to on average 3,500 calories a day, he said.
Prof Speakman, who is a member of the Energetics Research Group at the University of Aberdeen, said that his research showed that small changes in lifestyle were not enough to fight the obesity crisis.
‘The idea that small changes in life style are enough to offset obesity is wrong. In fact enormous changes in energy balance are needed and that can only realistically be achieved through changes in diet.’
‘We should be promoting exercise for health reasons but weight is not realistically going to benefit from exercise,’ he said. ‘Dieting on the other hand does have an effect on energy intake and this is a more realistic approach.’
What do you think of this analysis? Do you exercise regularly but seem unable to lose weight? Do you know how much you really eat – are you guilty of grazing on food throughout the day or eating oversized portions? Let us know your thoughts below…