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Physical Activity and Weight Control


Regular physical activity is an important part of effective weight loss and weight maintenance. It also can help prevent several diseases and improve your overall health. It does not matter what type of physical activity you perform--sports, planned exercise, household chores, yard work, or work-related tasks--all are beneficial. Studies show that even the most inactive people can gain significant health benefits if they accumulate 30 minutes or more of physical activity per day. Successful weight loss improves control of noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and hypertension, reduces cardiovascular risk factors, and enhances self-image.

Research consistently shows that regular physical activity, combined with healthy eating habits, is the most efficient and healthful way to control your weight. Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain it, you should understand the important role of physical activity and include it in your lifestyle. Dietary and exercise changes, and these changes reinforced by behavior modification, are the most frequently used combination therapies. Combining changes in diet and exercise can lead to greater short-term weight loss than changes with either alone.


Weight Control Information Network
The Weight-control Information Network (WIN) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health, under the U.S. Public Health Service. Authorized by Congress (Public Law 103-43), WIN assembles and disseminates to health professionals and the public information on weight control, obesity, and nutritional disorders. WIN responds to requests for information; develops, reviews, and distributes publications; and develops communications strategies to encourage individuals to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

NIH Publications No. 97-4155
October 1996
e-text last updated: 10 February 1998




last update: February 2009



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