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Honesty About Exercise Tied to Weight

When people with weight problems talk about their exercise and eating habits, many doctors and nutritionists don’t believe them. That’s because studies show that overweight people commonly underestimate the amount of food they’re eating.

But exercise habits appear to be a different story. New research shows that people with weight problems are far more tuned into how much they exercise than they are often given credit for.

In a study presented at the Obesity Society’s annual meeting, researchers from Temple University’s Center for Obesity Research and Education in Philadelphia found that obese women were more accurate in reporting their activity levels than overweight or normal weight women.

For 12 months, the researchers studied 280 normal weight, overweight and obese women whose average age was 47. The women were equipped with accelerometers, devices that measure physical activity, and asked how much they exercised at the beginning of the study, after three months and at 12 months. Notably, women who were normal weight or overweight, but not obese, had a more difficult time estimating their physical activity levels. But women who were obese — meaning they had a body mass index above 30 — came much closer to accurately estimating how much they were exercising.

Study lead author Tracy Oliver said that obese women are often considered “less credible? when they report their caloric intake, and that she expected they would also have a difficult time estimating their physical activity. She speculated that the opposite finding may be due to the fact that exercise and even low levels of physical activity may be particularly challenging for an obese person.

“They want to give themselves credit for every little bit engaged in due to the effort put forth,? she said.

This was a rather interesting short article on a research study. Although, I would have like more information about why these results were found and what they might mean. Why were obese women more accurate in estimating their physical activity levels? Were non-obese women underestimating or overestimating? And why? What about men? What does this mean for normal or overweight women? This is a great news piece despite not being in a peer reviewed scholarly journal. However, I would have liked to see more detail and greater depth of meaning.

Source: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/honestly-about-exercise-tied-to-weight/


I would like to know what activity levels the women were achieving at each level of body weight. How did the researchers decide what the activity level cut-offs were?