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November 18, 1983

Those who 'eat and run' may lead healthier lives

JAMA. 1983;250(19):2589-2593. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340190009006

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Weight control is often thought of as a trial of self-denial. However, a two-year study of middle-aged runners shows that it is not only possible to eat more while weighing less, but it also seems healthier to eat more—as long as you keep on exercising.

According to Peter D. Wood, DSc, professor of medicine (research) and deputy director of the Stanford (Calif) University Heart Disease Prevention Program, it is known that very active persons eat a greater amount of food than their more sedentary cohorts. In addition, it has been shown that many active persons decrease their proportion of body fat and improve their lipoprotein status. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol levels drop sharply, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels increase markedly.

The new data again confirm these findings, but also show something else: The active persons studied ate different foods—more complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and