Must Read: Study Claims Exercise Not Key To Weight Control!

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Feb 16, 2017 01:01 PM EST

An international study led by researchers at Loyola University Chicago has provided a compelling evidence that exercise may not be the key to weight control. (Photo : Don Arnold/Getty Images)

An international study led by Loyola University Chicago has tender a convincing and compelling evidence that exercise may not be the key to weight control. The researchers conducted the study on young adults from the United States and four other countries and found no relation between neither physical activity nor sedentary time and weight gain.

Physical activity is said to have numerous health benefits, including a reduction in the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and improving mental health and mood. Previous studies found that people who are physically active are often healthier and tend to live longer. But even though physical activity reduces caloric levels, it also increases appetite, as people usually compensate by eating more after an exercise or end up being less active for the rest of the day.

"Our study results indicate that physical activity may not protect you from gaining weight," lead author Lara R. Dugas Ph.D., MPH said. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, according to Science Daily.

However, some researchers linked a reduction in physical activity, particularly in the workplace, with the obesity epidemic. But in the recent study, where the researchers measured physical activity objectively and then monitored the participants over time, found a significant relationship between weight gain and physical activity.

The instant study is one of the outcomes of the Modeling the Epidemiologic Transition Study (METS) in which the researchers monitored adults between the age of 25 to 40 living in five countries. These countries include the United States, South Africa, Ghana, Jamaica, and Seychelles - an island country east of Africa.

Previous studies reveal that when study participants are asked about their physical activity, they tend to overstate the amount of workout they do. The researchers of the current study made the participants wear tracking devices known as accelerometers on their waists for a week to provide a more objective measure. The devices work to measure energy expenditure and step count. The researchers also measured participants' height, weight and body fat and then asked the participants after an initial exam to return after a year and two years.

The Ghanaian participants had the lowest average weights of 139 pounds for both men and women during the initial visit. But the Americans had the highest weights of 206 pounds for men and 202 pounds for women. The researchers also found that the Ghanaians were more fit when compared to the Americans.

Of the Ghanaians, 76 percent of the males and 44 percent of females met the physical activity guidelines of the United States Surgeon General. But just 44 percent of American males and 20 percent of the females were able to meet the guidelines. These guidelines urge people to commit at least two and a half hours every week to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, according to Eurekalert.

The researchers were amazed to find that the total weight gain in every country studied were greater among participants who met the guidelines. But they did not find any significant association between the sedentary time during the initial visit and subsequent weight gain or weight loss. They discovered that weight at the initial visit, age and gender were the only factors that were significantly related to weight gain.

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