This article examines the role of physical activity and obesity. It gives a useful summary of the decline of physical activity and its relevance to obesity. It also examines the role of PA in terms of weight management and weight loss. Hills et al. (2006) has an excellent table to illustrate where declines in physical activity in daily life may come from.
Population-wide declines in physical activity (modified from Brownson et al., 2005)
• Leisure-time physical activity: level or slightly increasing
• Work-related activity: declining
• Transportation activity: declining
• Activity in the home: declining; and
• Sedentary activity: increasing; therefore, total physical activity is declining
Hills argues that the role of increased energy expenditure through physical activity is the key to weight loss and long term weight maintenance.The paper is available in full here . The relationship between decline in physical activity and weight management has been covered in several previous posts. My own favourite is Obesity in Britain: gluttony or sloth? which examines the calorific intake in the UK diet over a 20 year period and established that it has declined. They concluded that physical activity in everyday life had declined and that this was especially the case for children.
Hills, A., & Byrne, N. (2006). State of the science: a focus on physical activity. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 15, 40-48.
Brownson, R., Boehmer, T., & Luke, D. (2005). Declining rates of physical activity in the United States: what are the contributors? Annual review of public health, 26, 421. (Abstract only)
Prentice, A., & Jebb, S. (1995). Obesity in Britain: gluttony or sloth? British medical journal, 311(7002), 437
Hills AP, & Byrne NM (2006). State of the science: a focus on physical activity. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 15 Suppl, 40-8 PMID: 16928660