[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 25, 1980

Losing Weight Through Exercise

JAMA. 1980;244(4):377-379. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310040059034

OBESITY is a serious medical problem in the United States and has been directly related to several "chronic" health problem.1 Consequently, weight reduction is often prescribed as part of the medical treatment of many cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal conditions.

The simplistic views that obesity is due solely to overeating, or that it can be effectively treated through caloric restriction, are not valid. While it is true that some obese persons eat large amounts of food, studies have shown that many eat less than their leaner counterparts, although they are far less physically active.2 Treatment relying chiefly on caloric restriction is successful in as few as 5% and probably no more than 20% of all cases, with poor patient compliance a big part of the problem.3 While it is doubtful that long-term compliance with exercise programs will be easy for persons with lifelong patterns of inactivity, exercise (alone or