Physical activity, fat intake and body fat

A.H. Goris, K.R. Westerterp*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    The body fatness of a subject is a long-term reflection of the energy balance, the more intake exceeds expenditure the more energy is stored as fat. There is not yet a clear answer on the question whether the current obesity epidemic is a consequence of gluttony or sloth. Review studies do not show a reduction of physical activity over the years, and food intake is difficult to measure in daily life conditions. Food intake can only be derived from self-report, where under-reporting of food intake and selective underreporting of fat intake are major issues. Fat intake might be an important factor in the increase of body weight. Many studies suggest the capacity of the body to oxidize dietary fat is a major risk factor for a positive energy balance. Additionally, there is evidence that most of the fat consumed is stored before oxidation. Obesity prone subjects might be characterized by a higher storage of dietary fat. The only way to increase the oxidation of dietary fat, other than consuming more dietary fat, is to increase energy expenditure by an increase of physical activity. Indeed, there are indications that physical activity is an important determinant of fat oxidation. Based on the evidence presented, it is concluded that the obesity epidemic is mainly due to a high dietary intake, especially as fat, and that physical activity can be a tool to modulate the effect of fat intake on body fat. AD - Care and Health Applications, Philips Research, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)164-168
    JournalPhysiology & Behavior
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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