More Exercise May Help Weight Loss
Bruce Smith,
Associated Press Writer

6:02 PM EST; November15, 1999; Charleston, SC (AP) -- Losing weight and keeping it off may require more exercise than previously thought -- maybe twice as much as the 30 minutes recommended, researchers said Monday. A study from Brown University researchers found that 2,500 people who lost an average 60 pounds and kept it off for a year exercised about an hour a day. "We know that 30 minutes every day is a good thing -- it's certainly better than less than that," said Dr. John Jakicic, an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Medicine at Brown. "But, after that, what you want is somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes, and where that is, we're not sure."

Dr. Rena Wing, a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Brown, said most of the people studied walked about ten miles a week, then did aerobics, weight lifting, or other activities. The researchers attended the annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. The study was based on data from the National Weight Control Registry, a repository of information on how people lost weight based at the University of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Gerald Mishoe, a 50-year-old paralegal from Charleston who weighed 287 pounds but has lost almost 50 pounds after a heart attack in August, says he exercises almost 45 minutes a day. Mishoe said that, even after he was stricken, he was not sure about exercising. His regimen now includes strenuous workouts three times a week at the Roper Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Center. "Anybody who was my weight thinks about the need to exercise; but I never found the time to do it until I got a wake-up call," he said. "I think someone who is just trying to take off weight might be discouraged by an hour a day."

Another study found that short bouts of exercise during the day were as effective as one long period in maintaining weight loss for women. "It is important that people know they can exercise a little bit at a time," Jakicic said. "To send them a message they have to do an hour a day is going to turn them off," Jakicic said. "We need to readjust that figure and find ways to get people to do a little more." He said patients who kept the weight off likely paid close attention to their diets as well. "If you don't adopt both exercise and focus on eating behaviors you won't be successful long term," he said.