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March 29, 2022
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Exercise to Help Manage Overweight and Obesity.

What is overweight and obesity? 

As defined by the World Health Organisation, overweight and obesity are abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A body mass index (BMI) over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese. BMI is a single number that evaluates an individual’s weight in relation to height and is defined as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in metres (kg/m2). 

Risk Factors

Obesity is a known risk factor for numerous health problems, including hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems (asthma), musculoskeletal diseases (arthritis) and some forms of cancer, and mortality also increases progressively once the overweight threshold is crossed.

Energy Balance

Our body weight is influenced by our energy intake (calories we consume) and our energy output (energy we expend during rest and physical activity). This relationship is defined by the energy balance equation:

Energy Balance = energy intake – energy expenditure

When an individual is in energy balance, energy intake equals energy expenditure, and weight should remain stable. 

Negative energy balance is when energy intake is less than energy expenditure, usually resulting in weight loss. This can be achieved by limiting foods high in energy such as takeaway foods, sweet biscuits, cakes, sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juice, lollies, chocolate and savoury snacks. Some people have a healthy diet but eat too much. Reducing your portion size is one way to decrease the amount of energy you eat. This can assist with weight loss as well as improve psychological factors, such as mood, self-esteem and subjective wellbeing.


A bad diet here includes those high in refined carbohydrates, high in saturated fats and processed meats, but most importantly the client won’t lose weight if they are following a diet that exceeds the number of kilojoules expended over the course of the day. It is important to ensure the client is eating in a deficit (eating less energy than is expended) if they are to lose weight.

ESSA guidelines for overweight/obesity

  • ?5 days per week of aerobic exercises to maximise caloric expenditure. 
  • Patients who are overweight or obese should be prescribed a program of 45 to 60 mins of moderate-intensity activity a day.
  • Important to be conscious of what type of exercise is prescribed. For example, wouldn’t recommend jogging to someone who is morbidly obese. 

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