Eating to win: activity, diet and weight control
Eating to win: activity, diet and weight control

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Eating to win: activity, diet and weight control

1 Activity, diet and weight control

This course will focus on why dieting alone is not a successful strategy for weight control. There is a clear relationship between physical activity and measures of body composition such as waist to hip ratio, waist circumference and body fat. Yet data from the Health Survey for England shows that in 2004 only one-third of men and one-quarter of women were taking thirty minutes of exercise at least five times a week (NHS, 2006). Low levels of physical activity are associated with poor diet and obesity, which may in turn be a barrier to being active (Skidmore, 2007). According to NHS statistics (NHS, 2006) the main reasons given by adults for not participating in active sports during the last year were: their health wasn’t good enough (50 per cent), followed by difficulty in finding time (18 per cent) and not being interested (15 per cent). In this course we will consider why this inactivity is of concern in relation to healthy weight and why physical activity is a key component for weight loss and weight maintenance.

Physical activity influences appetite and leads to improved overall fitness levels. In turn, higher fitness levels mean you gain advantages that benefit your weight control, because of the increased use of body fat as an energy source, without losing lean muscle mass. One of the major physiological advantages of exercise is that levels of fat in the blood are reduced. We will consider how exercise can influence cholesterol in the blood, and therefore reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

Reading 1 Activity and weight control

Allow about 1 hour 10 minutes

Now read the extract linked below from ‘Fitness and Health’, by Sharkey and Gaskill. In this reading you will learn more about the influence of exercise on weight control compared with dieting.

Right-click on the following link to open the PDF in a new tab or window.

View document [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Discussion

The key message of this chapter is that, in weight control, neither exercise nor diet alone result in the same level of longer-term success as exercise with diet.

How much energy is used during activity is related to several factors including the duration and intensity of the exercise. For effective weight control, Sharkey and Gaskill recommend moderate rather than high intensity exercise, because more calories are used before exhaustion is reached. Others emphasise that intensity alone is not so important, and it is the total energy expenditure (duration and intensity) that is more relevant. Sharkey and Gaskill also emphasise that greater fitness allows more activity and therefore more weight control, hence frequency may be more important than intensity. Exercise may be more effective than dieting because of the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), where calorie expenditure remains high for a short while after the period of exercise (the recovery period).

E112_3

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus