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Why Weight Loss Should Not Be Your 2012 New Year Resolution!

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Hey there Guys,

Today I came across an interesting post from the Australian Medical Observer that showed that obsessing about weight is not as important as general fitness when it comes to preventing disease. To quote the article:

In a study of over 14,000 men, every unit of increased fitness — measured by a treadmill test — was associated with a 19% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD) over the 11-year study period. Each extra unit was also linked to a 15% reduction in risk of dying from any cause.

The US study included men with an average age of 44 who were mostly white college graduates. They received two medical examinations six years apart, and were followed for a further 11 years.

The greatest benefits were seen in those who improved their fitness, having been unfit: overall they had a 40% lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 44% lower risk of death from CVD over the study period compared with men whose fitness declined.

Men who were originally fit, and stayed fit, had a 30% lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 28% lower risk of death from CVD, compared with men whose fitness declined.
BMI, a measure of obesity, increases were not significantly linked to mortality after adjusting for fitness.

So what does this mean for us men?

From this study there are two very important take home points…

First is that we need to stop focusing on weight as a measure of health. Clearly being massively overweight is not an ideal health situation however for the many of us who are carrying a few extra pounds this study shows that our focus should be on improving our fitness and not reducing our weight.

As I tell my patients almost every day, “if you are moving every day, getting two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables you don’t need to stress out about weight”  Get these three things right and your weight will take care of itself.

The second important finding is that exercise and movement works!

The men who were unfit at the start of the study and increased their level of fitness had a reduction of death by heart attack or stroke by nearly one half! Those who were already exercising at the start reduced their risk of heart attack or stroke by close to one third!

Guys, these are amazing outcomes!

The best thing is that other then a bit of time and sweat you can exercise, move and improve your health for free! It’s as simple as getting off the bus two stops early, parking the car on the far side of the car park or even taking the stairs instead of the escalator. Simple choices made frequently make a huge difference.

So guys, stop thinking about the scales and start thinking about what what simple changes you could make today to increase your fitness!

Yours in good health.

Dr George

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