In addition to limiting calories, overweight and obese women may need to exercise 55 minutes a day for five days per week to sustain a weight loss of 10 per cent over two years, according to a new report.
In the report, researchers noted that current recommendations prescribe 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week, for a total of 150 minutes per week.
Against such a background, the researchers enrolled 201 overweight and obese women in a weight-loss intervention between 1999 and 2003. All the women were told to eat between 1,200 and 1500 calories per day.
They were then assigned to one of four groups based on physical activity amount – burning 1000 calories versus 2000 calories per week – and intensity – moderate versus vigorous. After six months, women in all four groups had lost an average of 8 per cent to 10 per cent of their initial body weight. However, most were not able to sustain this weight loss. After two years, the women’s weight was an average of five per cent lower than their initial weight, with no difference between groups.
The 24.6 per cent of individuals who did maintain a loss of 10 per cent or more over two years reported performing more physical activity – an average of 1,835 calories per week, or 275 minutes per week over the baseline level of activity – than those who lost less weight.
They also engaged in more eating behaviours recommended for weight control and had a lower intake of dietary fat.