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Exercise, Diet Equally Important

You may remember the results of a study I posted earlier this fall that found fitness may play a greater role in heart health than what you weigh. A new study of some 115,000 nurses has found the "fit vs. fat" argument faulty, however. Researchers believe physical activity can offset SOME of the harmful health consequences of being overweight but cannot fully erase them.

Simply put, researchers found merely being overweight OR sedentary increases your risk of death. The healthiest people, according to the study, are those who are both thin and physically active, a blow to those who have argued that fitness is more important than fatness and can offset the risks of being overweight.

Here's some numbers that may convince you just how important retooling both your exercise regimen and eating habits (based on your body's nutritional type) can be:

  • Obese, sedentary women were almost 2.5 times more likely to die than those who are thin and active.
  • Obese but active women had a slightly lower mortality rate, at nearly 2 times the risk.
  • Leaner women who exercised less than 3-1/2 hours per week increased their risk of early death by 55 percent compared to women who worked out more frequently.
  • Not being lean or getting enough exercise could account for 31 percent of all premature deaths, 59 percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease, and 21 percent of deaths from cancer among women who do not smoke.

Washington Post December 23, 2004

Yahoo News December 22, 2004

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