Just in case you missed it, an article in Times Online on Monday 19th October, created quite a stir when hackette Helen Rumbelow quoted recent studies that purport to show that the benefits of exercise for weight loss have been overstated.
This prompted a truly British response in the form of ‘a letter to the Times’ not from angry of Tunbridge Wells but from FIA Chief Operating Officer, David Stalker who took up the cudgels on behalf of his members, Human Kinetics included.
Here’s his letter….
Helen Rumbelow’s recent article on the role of exercise in the fight against obesity (‘Exercise? A fat lot of good that is if you want to lose weight’,19 0ctober) correctly outlines the health benefits of exercise in terms of reducing depression, heart disease, diabetes and a host of other lifestyle diseases, but it goes on to give credence to what many believe are misleading and distracting propositions which undermine the hard work of many parents, healthcare and exercise professionals.
Weight loss should not be the only measure of health and wellbeing. If it was the Holy Grail (as suggested by some researchers quoted in the article), then a severely underweight adult or child would be considered healthy. The truth is eating the right food and taking regular exercise should be that Holy Grail for every man, woman and child.
As a major contributor to the wellbeing debate and a successful Government delivery partner, we believe that it is erroneous to focus solely on either food/’calories in’ or exercise/’calories out’. Every organisation, with a sincere interest in trying to help address problems associated with our health time bomb, now agrees that the focus should be on promoting the benefits of an integrated strategy which addresses both sides of the wellbeing equation, not on spurious monochromatic observations on a complex multi-coloured issue.
Everyone deserves the right to be heard, but sometimes the white noise can be distracting.
Chief Operating Officer
I am not sure what Helen Rumbelow’s credentials are but am sure “scientist” is not one of them. Her report was riddled with distortions and generalisations like: “new research claims” .. (replace with “Helen Rumbelow claims”)
I am impressed with Dave’s linguistic ability nowadays (I still remember an IRHSA trip to San Fran in 1993, Dave), but let’s be clear – exercise very much plays a role in weight management, as does diet, as do a whole host of factors. Let’s not let a newspaper geared towards sensationalism convince us otherwise.
And great point – let’s expand our concept of what an active healthy lifestyle fully encompasses. Just as fit is more than just not fat, being overweight may not mean unhealthy and is preferable to obese!
David is right in what he says. Its not a simple equation and there are no magic bullets.
Providing your metabolism with the nutrients it requires without loading it with those it does not is a good start. Moving the way we have evolved to is the next. And so on…
Do the simple things right.