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What Is More Dangerous – Inactivity, Obesity or Something Else?

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The cause of health problems, or a symptom?

Is it more dangerous to be lazy than to be fat? The media reports on a major new European study with the usual simple and hasty conclusion. Here’s a typical example:

BBC: Inactivity “kills more than obesity”

The truth is not that simple. Asking what is worse, laziness or obesity, is the wrong question and mostly leads to prejudice. Understanding the real problem can provide an effective solution and improve the lives of many.

The study is large, but of the usual, simple and relatively cheap kind. It’s a questionnaire study about physical activity among about 300,000 Europeans, combined with measuring their weight and waist circumferences.

The result is that the quarter who reported significant inactivity – less than, say, a 20-minute walk every day – on average die slightly younger. This compared to people moving at least 20 minutes daily. For those who move more than that, no clear improvement was seen.

Media immediately jumps to the obvious, but far from proven explanation: that inactivity LEADS TO health problems. But this is just statistics from a survey, we can’t tell the cause. The opposite explanation is just as possible: that people with health problems move less than others.

For who would definitely want to leave the couch, chair or bed less than 20 minutes per day? Sick people, depressed people, people with severe obesity, people with disabling pain conditions, people who expose themselves to starvation dieting, people who are not feeling well.

If these people on average live shorter lives, it should not come as a surprise to anyone and we can’t hastily blame the multifaceted problems on inactivity alone.

Conclusion

Of course it’s a good idea to move more than 20 minutes per day, but nothing indicates that this is the right place to start for everyone.

If you really don’t want to move there may be another problem to tackle first. Perhaps a diet change, weight loss, health improvement or better sleep is what is needed in order to make you feel good and get enough energy that you’ll want to move… a lot more.

The truth is that you can start at any point you wish, but the positive effects then tend to spread. Good luck!

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Elevator Ban in Fight Against the Obesity Epidemic – Seriously!

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The desparation is spreading. In Turkey a ban on using the elevator is now introduced to curb the obesity epidemic in the population:

Daily Sabah: Governor takes on elevators in fight against obesity

So far the ban only applies to public buildings in a province in Turkey – and if you want to go beyond the third floor this is apparently ok. There are also exemptions for nursing homes and people who for health reasons can’t climb stairs.

I wonder if you need a doctor’s note to take the elevator and who is going to monitor this? And what about strollers, should they too take the stairs?

The Elevator Act will hardly be a success. Of course it’s good to move, but unfortunately it doesn’t have any major impact on weight. Similar laws will produce a lot of hassle but hardly any positive effect. You also add to the old prejudices against people with weight problems.

The same governor has previously ordered that coffeehouses serve tea with only one sugar cube instead of two. This is a step in the right direction but it fails to adress the truly massive problem.

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If you’re going to have an impact on the obesity epidemic through legislation you need to start at the right place.

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LCHF on Australia’s Biggest Science Show!

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Things are happening! The other day an excellent TV show aired about the benefits of LCHF-like food. This on Australia’s biggest science show, Catalyst.

The show is not only about how LCHF may reduce appetite, produce weight loss without hunger or improve diabetes. It also goes into how this kind of food may help some top athletes to better performance.

Watch the episode for free online:

Catalyst: Low-carb diet: fat or fiction? (30 minutes long)

The show features professor Tim Noakes and professor Steve Phinney. Continue Reading →

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Across the Pacific Ocean Without Sugar or Other Junk Carbohydrates

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I’ve received many emails about this: A Finnish couple is rowing across the Pacific Ocean in protest against sugar and other bad carbohydrates. Their “Fat Chance Row” goes from California to Hawaii, which they’re hoping to reach in August.

You won’t find any pasta-loading on this row – they are eating real food, such as “dried meat, nuts, coconut butter and dried fruit, things that will keep at high temperatures”.

USA Today: Couple test food and each other on row to Hawaii

The expedition’s webpage: Fatchancerow.org

The words “Fat Chance” are from the title of professor Robert Lustig’s book about the dangers of sugar. The expedition is done in collaboration with his recently-launched organization Institute for Responsible Nutrition.

This is where the couple is now:

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How Athletes – and You – Can Get Faster, Better and Stronger

How can athletes break old records and become faster, better and stronger for each decade that passes? We are the same humans we were a hundred years ago… or?

This is a cool new 15-minute TED-talk on the subject. Sports journalist and author David Epstein is a very skilled speaker. And his eye-opening conclusions are relevant far beyond the world of sports, and could apply to any kind of achievement.

We’re simply given better and better enabling conditions to accomplish things that our ancestors could only dream of… if we take advantage of the opportunity.  Continue Reading →

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