Exercise may reduce risk of heart disease more than a healthy diet, but doctors say doing both is best

Exercise may reduce risk of heart disease more than a healthy diet, but doctors say doing both is best

- Staff writers

News summary:
Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A2957-2004Sep7.html

  • Being fit appears to be far more important than being thin for decreasing the risk of heart disease, while the opposite seems to be the case for diabetes, according to two new studies in women.
  • One study of more than 900 women with chest pain found that those who were unfit were much more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who were overweight.
  • But the other, a study of more than 37,000 healthy nurses, found that being fit did little to reduce the huge risk that overweight women face of developing diabetes.
  • A study of more than 900 women with chest pain found that those who were unfit were more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who were overweight.
  • One researcher said women "need to be out increasing.
  • The new studies, published in today''s Journal of the American Medical Association, rekindled an intense debate over the relative risks and benefits of being overweight vs. thin, fit vs. unfit.
  • You''re telling me that it doesn''t make any difference if I exercise.
  • You''re saying it doesn''t make any difference to lose weight,'' " said Arthur Frank, an obesity expert at George Washington University.
  • The seemingly conflicting findings may be the result of the different diseases and populations of women that were studied, with weight perhaps playing a greater role in diabetes and fitness possibly more important for heart disease, Frank and others said.
  • "Although closely linked, they are different diseases, and it may be the relative importance of different risk factors will vary between them," said Lawrence J. Cheskin, director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center.
  • With the number of Americans who are overweight and obese increasing rapidly, public health authorities have been warning that the nation is facing a major public health crisis.