A recent editorial1 published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine did little to help primary care and community health professionals promote the benefits of a healthy diet plus physical activity. The authors acknowledged that ‘regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30%’, but claimed that ‘physical activity does not promote weight loss’. Guess which statement grabbed the headlines.
Its lead author told the BBC: ‘An obese person does not need to do one iota of exercise to lose weight, they just need to eat less.’2 A subsequent headline in The Independent read: ‘You don’t need to do “one iota” of exercise to lose weight, says scientific study’.3
But it’s important to note that: