Natalie Dixon
Ext: 3566

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Internal News - 01 November 2007

Is fitness more important than fatness?

Middle-aged male volunteers are needed for a study on the benefits of regular exercise, as part of ongoing research by the School for Health on the prevention of heart disease.

The study will focus on whether it is exercise itself that reduces the risk of heart disease, or if it is because people who exercise regularly are leaner and it is the lower body fat that reduces the risk.

Dr Thompson who leads this group said “This research has important implications for advice and policy on what people should and should not do for long term health.

“Indeed, there may be many people who are overweight and active and at low risk of heart disease because of their activity and fitness - and it may be more important for them to maintain their activity and fitness rather than worrying too much about being a little overweight.

“Alternatively, it may be possible that they are only getting some of the benefits of activity and that they should also try to lose a little weight. At the moment, we really don’t know what is more important.”

Volunteers, who need to be fit and active but overweight, will receive six months free gym membership in the Sports Training Village and personalised feedback on their health (such as risk factors for heart disease), fitness, and body composition (using a whole-body scan). We are also looking for a control group who are similar in terms of age and fitness but are not overweight.

They need to fill certain criteria, including:

• Being aged between 45-64 years
• Being active – does at least three sessions of structured exercise a week
• Being a non smoker
• Not currently taking medication

The initial stages of the study will include preliminary tests, including measurement of fitness, body fat, muscle mass, and blood pressure. Volunteers will then be asked to take a week off exercise and wear a pedometer, limiting themselves to the average 4,000 steps per day.

Blood measurements will be taken at the start of the week, during and after to show how heart disease risk factors have been affected by the week off exercise.

For more information please contact Natalie Dixon, details above.

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