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This recent study is enough to make me run around the block

April 19, 2010|By TIM ROWLAND

Now they're telling us that exercise isn't of much use if you're looking to lose weight.

I'm trying to decide if this is good news or bad news.

On one hand, it's rather discouraging to think that, as Newsweek suggests, all gyms should post a sign on the door to the effect of "Abandon hope all ye who enter here."

On the other hand, there's a rather relieving "can't win, don't try" message that on some level enables you to forget the power walk and go back to that bag of Doritos.

Heck, we need to eat in celebration of Hagerstown's new designation -- according to a Gallup survey -- as the fattest city in Maryland.

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That's not an honor I would like to relinquish to, say, Cumberland. Although I can't say that this information really qualifies as anything we didn't know. It might be news to George Gallup, but to the rest of us not so much.

I do find it a little strange though, that it's based on a survey. Like, how do those phone calls go down?

"Hello sir, I'm calling from the Gallup corporation. Are you obese."

"Why yes, morbidly so. Why do you ask?"

Well, not that we were predisposed to exercise anyway, but the news out of the Journal of the American Medical Association is just one more nail in the piano crate that they'll have to bury us in.

Yes, exercise works, but only if you go at it for at least an hour a day, seven days a week. And that doesn't help you lose pounds, it just prevents you from putting on more.

And here I've been like a fool, listening to the federal guidelines suggesting that it was enough to walk around the block every other day.

And it gets worse. According to the study, "Once overweight, it may be too late because physical activity -- at least, at levels carried out by study participants -- was not associated with less weight gain. Second, sustaining high levels of physical activity (60 minutes a day) is needed to successfully maintain normal BMI and prevent weight gain."

I don't know about you, but I feel a lot better about these 10 extra pounds that I've been hauling around with me since my sophomore year in college.

Obviously, they are not my fault. There is nothing that could have been done, except, at age 19, to order a lifetime's supply of blue jeans with progressively greater waistlines.

Of course, if you don't like the message that this latest study sends, just wait around for a couple of years. I'm sure it won't take long before it's been thoroughly debunked.

If you haven't noticed, there's kind of this weight-loss gang war going on between the pro-exercise crips and the pro-dieting bloods. There's a lot of money at stake, not in terms of drug proceeds, but in terms of the revenue from weight-loss books.

The pro-exercise advocates had been riding high for quite a while, after that round of studies from a couple of years back indicating that fat was OK after all, and that dieting really didn't make all that much difference.

You knew that the pro-diet faction would bide its time, but sooner or later it would gain a measure of revenge by taking out one of the highest-ranking pro-exercise arguments.

This whole subject is going to be one bloody mess before it's all over. Meanwhile, those of us who are caught in the crossfire must stand strong and remember the one proven fact of weight loss: Nothing works.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under opinion@herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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