Obesity Does Slow People Down, Study Confirms
Women may be caught in cycle of fatigue, lack of self-esteem, expert says
Non-obese women, on the other hand, showed no drop in their physical activity routines.
"This finding," Tucker said, "highlights the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle and a healthy weight in order to prevent the start of this potential cycle of increasing risks."
Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, said the viciousness of this cycle means this is often easier said than done.
"What we do know is that obesity is clearly related to more sedentary behavior," Sandon said. "But is it that they move less and become obese, or because they're obese that they move less?"
Sandon said there are many reasons an obese woman would stop being active.
"Certainly, when you become obese it's just harder to move your body, and you become winded or easily fatigued with very little activity," she said. "S you would just plain avoid it for that reason."
Psychological issues also come into play, Sandon said.
"Being obese gets tied to emotion and body image. You don't want people watching you. You don't feel comfortable going to a gym or a fitness class because people may be staring," she said. "Low self-esteem, poor body image and depression also oftentimes go along with obesity. There's a lack of confidence that they can lose the weight, and that in trying to do it they'll just bring unwanted attention to themselves."
The cycle of obesity and inactivity "is a very complicated and difficult situation," Sandon said.