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Sample of Obese Subjects Led Very Sedentary Lives

Last Updated: March 31, 2009.

In a small sample of morbidly obese individuals, their extremely sedentary lifestyles fell far short of common activity guidelines for cardiovascular protection, according to research published online March 19 in Clinical Cardiology.

TUESDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- In a small sample of morbidly obese individuals, their extremely sedentary lifestyles fell far short of common activity guidelines for cardiovascular protection, according to research published online March 19 in Clinical Cardiology.

Thomas E. Vanhecke, M.D., of the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, and colleagues analyzed data from 10 participants with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40. Subjects wore a new type of activity sensor for 72 hours that measured total caloric expenditure. They later underwent cardiorespiratory fitness testing.

The subjects' mean daily caloric expenditure was 2,668 calories, the investigators found. On average, they took 3,763 steps, and each day they spent an average of 23 hours and 51.6 minutes asleep or engaged in sedentary activities, with the remainder of the time in moderate activities, the researchers report. Higher cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with higher total caloric expenditure.

"Recent health campaigns including the 10,000 steps-per-day initiative are part of a public health strategy to increase aerobic fitness using multiple bouts of light physical activity. Despite the lack of moderate or vigorous physical activity of our study population, lighter amounts of physical activity (2 to 3 metabolic equivalents) may yield significant health benefits. Even 'light' walking at speeds of one to two miles per hour allows someone with a BMI over 40 kg/m2 to approximate an aerobic requirement of 2.2 metabolic equivalents," the authors write.

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