Columbia, SC (WLTX) - How much do you move around in a day, and how much do you think that affects your weight? Researchers at USC are working on a study to measure just that, and activity could be more important in keeping you healthy than your diet is.
"I don't care what you read in the newspaper, hear on radio or television; we do not know the cause of the obesity epidemic," says Dr. Steve Blair, a professor in USC's Arnold School of Public Health, "I think it's much more likely that Americans are moving less, spending less energy; in that, we have no compelling evidence that Americans are eating more than they did 30 years ago."
The question of more food or less activity is what their upcoming Energy Balance study is hoping to figure out. "Most of the research on obesity and health outcomes, the investigators have not measured physical activity, maybe not even measured it at all. If they measured it, they did a lousy job measuring it," Blair says, "I'm not saying ignore diet, I'm not saying ignore the obesity epidemic. I'm saying let's bring a little more balance to the discussion."
The study will follow subjects for a year, tracking their activity through an arm band as well as their diet. And it could bring a new idea of what is considered unhealthy. "Again and again we've shown that obese people who are fit have a much lower death rate than the normal weight people who are unfit," explains Blair, "Fitness, which is of course an objective laboratory measure of your activity habits, is far more important than obesity as a public health problem. And it's far more important to individuals."
Researchers are still looking for about 40 more participants, men and women in the 29 to 25 age category. To get more information, check out their website.