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Diet or Exercise? Which one Works best for Obesity?

Updated on September 20, 2014

Lack of exercise can lead to obesity



Obesity has become an epidemic in many parts of the world. In developing countries like India, obesity co exists with malnutrition.

Diet and nutrition play a great role in the development of obesity.

Consumption of energy rich, nutrient deficient food items is the major factor contributing to obesity.

Obesity statistics

As per World Health Organisation's statistics

· More than 1 billion adults are overweight worldwide

· At least 300 million of them are clinically obese

· Current obesity levels range from below 5% in China, Japan and certain African nations, to over 75% in urban Samoa.

Obesity in Children


Obesity in children

Obesity in children is also on the increase. 22 million children under five are estimated to be overweight worldwide.

The level of physical activity has reduced among children globally. Children spent more time in front of computers and televisions.

This lack of physical activity coupled with the consumption of energy rich nutrient deficient fast food items have led to the development of childhood obesity.

Variation in the Distribution of Fat


Abdominal obesity.

It is not only the amount of fat on your body but the distribution of fat also matters. There is a striking difference in the distribution of fat among Indians.

There is accumulation of fat around the waist which is called apple obesity or truncal obesity or abdominal obesity.

Risk of diseases like diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases increases with abdominal obesity.

Will a diet for losing weight help in controlling obesity?

Facts about obesity are widely available now in newspapers, television channels and internet. Many of them give stress to healthy weight loss and the importance of physical fitness.

What do you do to maintain your body weight?

See results

Which is more effective?

Diet plan for weight loss?

Diet and exercise program?

Exercise for losing weight?

Following a weight loss diet will of course be helpful in reducing obesity and weight management for people who eat indiscriminately and excessively. There is a tendency to put on weight if the diet is high in fat and energy.

Importance of physical exercises

It is better to look for exercises for obesity than to look for a diet for weight loss. Exercise plays a major role in reducing weight than diet. If you look at people eating more or less the same quantity and type of food, some of them may be obese and overweight whereas some may be having normal weight. That is because of the increased level of activity among the latter group. A regular exercise plan will help in safe weight loss.

A study on abdominal obesity

A case-control study of dietary habits, physical activity and risk for abdominal obesity among working women was conducted in India to identify the prevalence and risk factors of abdominal obesity.

The results showed that 82.35% of the women participated in the study were abdominally obese. The women followed more or less the same pattern of diet. But the difference was in the amount of physical activity they had.

The authors concluded that women need to develop a regular pattern of physical activity in addition to their work at office and home.

This study emphasises the importance of physical exercises and the need to have a regular program of exercise for weight loss.

It reinforces that lack of physical exercise is the most important contributing factor for the development of obesity.

Importance of physical fitness

A soft couch and television are the two enemies for a physical fitness programme. The couch is so inviting that often we plan to sit and watch a television programme for half an hour. But we find ourselves lying on the couch more than the expected period. We also notice that we will be munching on something while watching TV.

Healthy weight is all about physical fitness. People who maintain a healthy weight can be sure that they are free of most of the lifestyle related illnesses.

Let's have a small test

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    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 4 years ago from India

      Hi mperrottet,

      Thanks for pointing out the mistake. The figures given here are for the Asian population as per WHO. I have overlooked the fact that I am presenting it to international audience. I will modify the title of the poll.

      Thanks again...

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 4 years ago from India

      Hi livingsta ,

      I am glad that you liked this hub.

      Thanks for the visit

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      I agree that exercise is the most important factor in losing weight. I think that your poll for the normal BMI may have the figures wrong on a normal BMI. Everywhere I've checked says that 18.5-24.9 is normal. Voting up and useful.

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is an interesting hub with facts around obesity. I do agree, lack of physical exercise, eating while watching TV, fast foods, etc. can contribute towards obesity. Along with some exercise, a balanced diet will help improve obese conditions. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      As I've written in one of my articles, there are many, many things that cause people to put on fat nowadays and they are not things most people would expect to affect their weight, so a person might not know to avoid them. In some cases a person can't avoid them.

      For those people who can lose weight, I would say the ideal is to adopt a healthful nutritious diet (get rid of most of the junk food that have empty fat causing calories) and incorporate exercise into their lives. Exercise is the magical Fountain of Youth as I point out in my hub relating to eternal youth.

      Voted up, useful, and will share!

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      Hi Brett,

      If your weight is maintained withiin limits, you can be 90% sure that you don't get those lifestyle related illnesses.

      Thanks for the visit.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      As technology has increased, our natural activity has decreased. We all need to make a conscious effort to exercise and eat a bit more healthily.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India


      Thanks for the visit

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 5 years ago from Austin, TX


    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      @debbie roberts

      Eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising are important for maintaining weight.

      Some studies have shown that those who eat more or less the same kind and quanity of food, the chance of weight gain is more if their level of physical activity is less.

      Thanks for the visit and kind comment:)

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 5 years ago from Greece

      I agree that exercise is a big factor in losing weight and in maintaining a healthy body weight, but eating a healthy balanced diet is just as important. The good thing about exercising is that if you listen to your body, you will find yourself naturally wanting to eat a healthier diet....

      An informative hub with some good tips....Thanks for sharing....

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Americans are probably the fattest people I've seen because of a lack of good diet and exercise. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • nityanandagaurang profile image

      nityanandagaurang 5 years ago

      great informative hub thumbi7,Actually both are neccassarry to reduce obesity.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Thank you Kimmi S. Sharing your insight has added value to this page. Thanks for the visit and comment.

      Have a great day!

    • KimmiS profile image

      KimmiS 6 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      It seems counter productive to me to start exercising without changing the diet. If a person eats only high fat low nutrient foods, they will have a much harder time exercising than if they changed their diet first.

      Also I have never seen an obese person eating only a live foods diet. I suggest the movie Sick Fat and Nearly Dead for a great example of curing obesity (in a short time period also)

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Dear lbfitness. I totally agree with your view. Thanks for validating.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Thnak you Radhikasree. There are a number of awareness campaigns going on all over the country. We can hope for the best. Thanks for the vote.

    • lbfitness profile image

      lbfitness 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Some really great information here. Obesity is only going to get worse unless society dramatically changes. I help people to lose weight with my job as a personal trainer and find the best results only come when the nutrition and diet part is sorted first. Many people exercise to the point of exhaustion and still don't lose weight because their diet is terrible!

    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 6 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Yeah, just like diversity in culture, India is diverse in the matter of diseases also. I think it's time to create awareness about obesity before the crops burn.

      A clear presentation of everything about obesity. Great hub! Voted up as useful.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Hi Chemistry book, Thank you for that additional information. In India, we can see both the extremes. Obesity and malnutrition.

    • Chemistry Book profile image

      Chemistry Book 6 years ago

      Obesity is hardly a problem in developing countries like countries of Africa. It seems like a problem of those who have excess food and confort. There is also this doubt on whether cholesterol could actually have negative health impact on starving people since it could be metabolised to compensate for scarce nutrients.