Exercise and Obesity

And yet again the obesity hype has scored another victim. The exercise dogma. We westerners get fat because we don’t move enough.
This latest study puts that one to rest:

Western lifestyles differ markedly from those of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and these differences in diet and activity level are often implicated in the global obesity pandemic. However, few physiological data for hunter-gatherer populations are available to test these models of obesity. In this study, we used the doubly-labeled water method to measure total daily energy expenditure (kCal/day) in Hadza hunter-gatherers to test whether foragers expend more energy each day than their Western counterparts. As expected, physical activity level, PAL, was greater among Hadza foragers than among Westerners. Nonetheless, average daily energy expenditure of traditional Hadza foragers was no different than that of Westerners after controlling for body size. The metabolic cost of walking (kcal kg−1 m−1) and resting (kcal kg−1 s−1) were also similar among Hadza and Western groups. The similarity in metabolic rates across a broad range of cultures challenges current models of obesity suggesting that Western lifestyles lead to decreased energy expenditure. We hypothesize that human daily energy expenditure may be an evolved physiological trait largely independent of cultural differences.

That’ll make a lot of exercise guru’s very unhappy.Exercising

Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity

2 thoughts on “Exercise and Obesity

  1. That’s really interesting! And good news, I guess, that we are not abnormally sedentary.

    So it says that the Hadza used more energy than the Westerners, but the difference disappeared once body size was factored in? Are they bigger than us, on average? How’s that work?


    • No Westerners are bigger. So you have to factor that in in comparing. If a large body uses X energy per kg, and you size it down it uses more then X energy per kg. Or inversely you size the Hazda up so they use less energy per/kg

      But Hazda aren’t that energetic….

      “Woodburn’s articles are laced with references to the laid-back ways of the Hadza, who “meet their nutritional needs easily without much effort, much forethought, much equipment, or much organization.”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s