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Move More, Gain Less Weight With Age

High Activity Levels Over Time Reduce Weight Gain With Age, Study Finds

Move More, Gain Less: Second Opinion

The new study findings are scientifically sound and are important, says Tim Church, MD, PhD, director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. He reviewed the study findings for WebMD but was not involved in the research.

"It brings some more balance to the discussion [about the obesity epidemic],'' he says. Often, people zero in on food only, he says. "Here's more evidence that physical activity clearly has a role in preventing weight gain. The optimal way to control weight is both through diet and physical activity."

The link found by Hankinson between lesser weight gain among highly active people may be more encouraging than at first glance, he says. He points out that the study followed them only to ages 38 to 50. "I would expect to see bigger group differences [between low and high activity groups] as the groups continue to age," he says.

Minimizing weight gain is just one reason to stay active with age, he says. "You are going to be able to get around easier" if you stay active with age, he says.

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