Tag Archives: New Study

150 Minutes

I just ran across this article online that talks about some new studies that talk about how much exercise you really need to do to significantly increase the chances of having a longer better life.  What it found is pretty encouraging.  You don’t need to do hours upon hours of exercise per week in order to see a benefit.  The largest gains were seen for people who exercised about an hour per day. (Just over 400 minutes per week).  Any amount of exercise beyond this (even up to 1,000 or more minutes of exercise per week) didn’t move the needle beyond 400 minutes per week.  But if an hour per day seems  like too much, don’t despair.  The benefits of 1 hour per day were really only slightly higher than those of people who exercised just 150 minutes per week.  And the study indicates that virtually any amount of exercise improves your chances over people who are completely sedentary.  And these benefits happened regardless of whether or not the people doing them lost any weight.

And you don’t even need to exercise that hard to get the benefits.  In fact, one of the new studies shows that moderate exercise is nearly as good as vigorous exercise in improving longevity.  Adding some vigorous exercise gives a slight bump, but you get plenty of benefits from simply walking, dancing around, gardening or other low impact, potentially low velocity activities.  So  you can really get an awful lot of benefit from just including 30 minutes of gentle exercise per day to your daily activities.  This video covers a lot of this information.  (TW: Obesity is briefly risked as a risk factor and as having negative consequences when mixed with sedentary).

Let me be clear here.  Exercise is not morally superior to any other activity.  (Nor does everybody need or want to hear graphic details about every moment of your run or other form of exercise).  Nobody is morally required to exercise.  But for those who are seeking ways to extend and improve their lives exercise is one of many effective steps they can choose to take.  They can also choose to practice mindful meditation, or engage in other enjoyable activities that help reduce their stress levels, find ways to get more and better sleep and spend quality time in social activities if they want to.  But the good news here, for folks who are specifically interested in engaging in exercise in order to gain health benefits is they don’t have to do a whole lot or do it at a very intense level to enjoy those benefits.


Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

Obesity Panic: Now Available at Birth

Counting baby's fingers and toes and BMI

Counting baby’s fingers and toes and BMI

The Washington Post recently reported on a study that purports to predict which kids are most likely to become obese.  This study claims that you can use a simple formula to predict which kids are more likely to get fat over the course of their lives.  Apparently, worried parents can follow the formula (using a simple online tool) shortly after the baby’s birth to begin obsessing over the child’s potential chub before they have even brought their bundle of joy home from the hospital.

That’s just great, isn’t it?

The article goes on to suggest that doctors and parents will know shortly after birth, which kids can “benefit most” from interventions aimed at preventing them from becoming fat.  The article admits that helping people lose weight once they are heavy “has yielded disappointing results”.  So the article suggests, we might have better success in preventing kids from getting fat in the first place.

Hmmm.  Based on what, I wonder?  Is there any proof that these interventions work?  Is there any evidence in the world to indicate that kids who receive these early interventions wind up thinner or more healthy than those who don’t?  And what does it do to these kids to be singled out at such an early age?

Reading a little further in the article, I came across this little gem:

The authors note that such a formula if used in common practice could help physicians allocate health-care resources by steering those kids who most need help toward nutrition and psychological counseling. They further note, though, that their formula should not be used to stigmatize some families or to falsely reassure other families that their babies are not at risk of becoming overweight in the future.

Okay, so let me get this straight.  The formula can help doctors figure out which kids to start badgering about not getting fat (starting at birth) but reassure us that those kids and families shouldn’t feel singled out (because we tell them not to).  And God forbid you parents with kids at lower risk for obesity should relax your vigilance for even a minute.  Your kid could wind up fat anyway.  You just can’t be too careful.


How long before we have Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers for babies?  How long until health insurance becomes more expensive for families of “high-risk” kids?  How long before parents are crunching potential BMI numbers before they even decide whether or not to have a kid?

I don’t know about you, but this sort of thing really, really scares the crud out of me.  It’s not enough that we have five and six-year-old kids with eating disorders.  Nope.  Now we’re supposed to be obsessing over the gene size and the jeans size of children before they even start solid food.

Why don’t we just make healthy foods and a safe place to play available to all kids?  How about we don’t start messing with kids innate and intuitive skills for playing and eating before they even begin to form their first words?  How about we teach all kids about Health At Every Size and give them tools for healthy, happy, expansive, joyful lives instead of teaching them to fear and hate their own bodies before they are out of diapers?

Let’s, at least for a little while, let kids be kids.


The Fat Chick