Experts’ latest claim: Obesity caused by diet, not exercise lack

‘Members of the public are drowned by an unhelpful message about maintaining a ‘healthy weight’ through calorie counting,’ they said

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Experts writing in The British Journal of Sports Medicine claimed that a poor diet rather than a lack of exercise is the main culprit behind obesity.

Published on April 22, the article “It is time to bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity: you cannot outrun a bad diet” was penned by experts including cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, an outspoken critic of the food industry.

“In the past 30 years, as obesity has rocketed, there has been little change in physical activity levels in the Western population,” the article states, adding “this places the blame for our expanding waistlines directly on the type and amount of calories consumed.”

The experts however hailed regular physical activity as it helps to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30 percent and it does not promote weight loss.

“Members of the public are drowned by an unhelpful message about maintaining a ‘healthy weight’ through calorie counting, and many still wrongly believe that obesity is entirely due to lack of exercise,” they said.

They even likened the actions of the food industry as “chillingly similar” to those of the tobacco industry, calling for the stoppage of endorsements of sugary drinks and the association of junk food with sport.

“Let us bust the myth of physical activity and obesity. You cannot outrun a bad diet,” they said.

Citing the Lancet Global Burden of Disease reports, they said “poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined.”

They said “up to 40 percent of those with a normal body mass index will harbor metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity, which include hypertension, dyslipidaemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.”