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May 22, 1996

Weight Loss vs Exercise to Reduce Coronary Artery Disease Risk Factors

Author Affiliations

West Valley, Utah

JAMA. 1996;275(20):1546. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530440023027

To the Editor.  —The study by Dr Katzel and colleagues1 has been quoted widely by the national media, which have promoted the conclusion that weight loss is healthier than exercise for older men. Although the authors of the study are not necessarily responsible for quotations in the media, the apparent perceptions have their basis in the study and consequently have done a disservice for many Americans.This study seems to show that dieting to achieve weight loss has a more beneficial effect on risk factors such as fasting blood glucose, insulin usage, and high-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol levels than does exercise alone. Therefore, it can be concluded that these risk factors have improvement more from weight loss through dieting than from exercise alone. However, the conclusion that weight loss is the preferred treatment to improve CAD risk factors in overweight middle-aged and older men does not necessarily follow.