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Diet and Exercise Study
Research Shows Lack of Exercise Raises Obesity
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Diet & Exercise Study

Researchers studied the diet and exercise patterns of two groups of wild baboons in East Africa. One group of baboons had to forage for food. The others found a stash of food that humans had discarded that was much closer to where they lived, which meant they expended much less energy for their daily food raids. The fat content and number of calories that both groups of baboons ate was about the same, but the baboons that ate the leftovers didn't have to work as hard to get their food.

"More than a third of the baboons that didn't have to exercise as much to get their food had indications of obesity, evidence of early diabetes caused by insulin resistance and elevated cholesterol levels," says Banks, who also is a staff physician at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis.

"The baboons' condition is similar to a condition in people called metabolic Syndrome X. Everything breaks down at once as patients develop diabetes, hyperlipedema, hypertension and obesity."

Most of the baboons that found the easy calories - seven out of 11 - did NOT develop the condition, indicating that some primates are more sensitive than others to becoming obese and diabetic. Their levels of leptin, the protein produced by fat and an indicator of obesity, were similar to those that had to forage in the wild for food.

The implication for human diet and exercise consequences is that some people can get away with indiscretions such as not exercising and will gain a little weight without suffering these serious health consequences, while other people are going to become overweight or obese.

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