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09-05-2011 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Positivity can increase exercise levels in the overweight/obese


Free abstract

MedWire News: US researchers have found that more favorable opinions about exercise can significantly increase exercise levels among overweight and obese individuals.

The team reports that, although a higher body mass index (BMI) was significantly associated with lower levels of exercise overall, most overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9 kg/m2) and obese (BMI≥30 kg/m2) individuals believed that the "pros" of exercise outweighed the "cons."

"As the pros increased, so did the likelihood of exercising," explain Deborah Walton Smith (Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington) and colleagues, in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

They note that regular exercise "substantially reduces the risk of developing comorbidities associated with being overweight and obese, such as stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease."

The team assessed the current exercise habits and exercise intensions of 175 overweight and obese adults (aged 40 years or older) using several behavioral questionnaires.

Most of the participants (65.2%) reported doing little or no exercise, and less than a third (30.4%) described themselves as active exercisers. Furthermore, correlation analysis revealed that as BMI increased, the perceived "pros" of exercise decreased and the perceived "cons" increased.

However, the researchers note that only 12.4% of individuals said they had no intention of exercising in the near future.

In addition, 25.3% of the participants intended to begin exercising within the next month and 21.3% intended to start within the next 6 months. Most respondents believed that the "pros" of exercise outweighed the "cons."

"The more that individuals exercise, the more benefits they see in being active," remark Walton Smith et al, who add that nurse practitioners, when approaching the subject of exercise among obese and overweight individuals, need to understand these behavioral changes in response to differing levels of exercise.

Focusing on the "pros" of exercise might "tip the decisional balance" in favor of exercise among overweight and obese patients, the team concludes.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Nikki Withers