Obesity is one of the greatest health problems facing our country. The causes of obesity are multifactorial in nature, but one contributor is a lack of daily activity or exercise by both children and adults. The CDC estimates less than 1/5th of Americans reach the weekly recommended amounts of exercise including either 300 minutes or 150 minutes or moderate or vigorous exercise, respectively. Aerobic exercise has previously been shown to reduce a participant’s current weight and reduce their risk of future weight gain. More recent research has examined the effects of resistance exercise on cardiovascular and metabolic conditions including obesity.
Brellenthin and colleagues conducted a prospective, cohort study on close to 12,000 adults who underwent a clinical examination and subjective report of daily habits including exercise and activity (PLOS One. 2021). Authors tracked each participation in both aerobic exercise and resistance training, as well as, their development of obesity based on BMI, waist circumference, or body fat percentage. Authors found up to 20% of the participants reached their definition of obesity over the 6 year period. Interestingly, 60-119 minutes of strength training each week (at least 2 days/week) was associated with 1/3 less risk of obesity over the study period. These results held up even when authors controlled for other clinical factors including the amount of aerobic exercise each participant reported over the study period. As expected, participants who performed both aerobic exercise and strength training each week had the lowest risk of developing obesity. Authors recommend utilizing both forms of exercise, as part of a comprehensive program, to help reduce individual’s risk of obesity.