So, what should you do? If you are a little overweight, rather than dieting, you will be better off increasing the amount of exercise that you take to get fitter and then any weight you need to lose will gradually disappear, as if by magic!
Middle-aged men, in particular those who are not obese but who are overweight, seem to benefit the most from increased physical activity. Women may try a bit of behavioural modification and take a healthier attitude to their shape!
If you do have a weight-related problem, such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance or glucose intolerance, its effects can also be mitigated with increased physical activity and fitness, independent of weight loss. Before you embark on any attempt to lose weight you should be aware that lean people are not necessarily at less risk of disease – unless they are also fit.
An American study from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas shows that a low fitness level is a strong predictor of premature death. The study tracked 25,000 men and 7,000 women over 8 years. It found that low fitness levels predicted ill health to the same extent as being a smoker.