‘Obese tend to slacken up on exercise during weekends’

July 2nd, 2008 - 5:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 2 (IANS) Fat people who are otherwise on a strict diet and exercise regimen tend to slacken up on weekends, according to a study. Past research has shown how people gain weight during holidays, but this is the first study to monitor daily weight, calorie intake and calorie expenditure throughout a year — and also on weekends.

“We thought weekends would present a problem for some people attempting to lose weight, but the consistency of our finding before and during the interventions was surprising,” said co-author Susan B. Racette of Washington University.

“Subjects in the diet group lost weight during the week, but over the weekend, they stopped losing weight because they were eating more.”

Racette’s team followed 48 adults between the ages of 50 and 60 who took part in the CALERIE (Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy) study.

Body mass index (BMI) ranked subjects as overweight or healthy weight when the study began. None were classified as obese.

Following earlier studies demonstrating that mice and rats live longer, healthier lives when on a calorie restricted diet, the CALERIE study is designed to determine whether taking in fewer calories over a long time period will slow down or reverse some of the common markers of aging and disease.

“But rats don’t have weekends the way people do,” Racette said. “People have social events, parties to attend, and if they have children who play sports, they might be at fields all day long, relying on concession stands for food.”

Participants were divided into three groups: the first lowered their daily calorie intake by 20 percent, a second increased daily physical activity by 20 percent, and a third, control group did not change diet or activity levels.

All three groups were monitored for one year. They kept food diaries, tracked exercise with accelerometers and were weighed regularly. Racette said people in the study didn’t always realize they were eating significantly more food on weekends.

The findings of the study appear in the advance online publication of the journal Obesity.

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