University of South Carolina

Physical fitness trumps body weight in reducing death risks

Margaret Lamb;; 803-777-5400

You’ve heard it before, but there’s even more compelling evidence to indicate that living longer can be linked to maintaining or improving your fitness levels – even if your weight stays the same or increases.

The findings are from a study, led by Drs. Duck-chul Lee and Steven N. Blair of the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health and published in the December issue of “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. “

This is good news for people who are physically active but can’t seem to lose weight,” said Lee, a physical activity epidemiologist in the Arnold School’s Department of Exercise Science. “You may worry less about your weight as long as you continue to maintain or increase your fitness levels.” In the study of 14,345 adult men, mostly white and middle or upper class, the researchers found that:

• Maintaining or improving fitness was associated with a lower death risk even after controlling for Body Mass Index (BMI) change.

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