Posted on Dec 23, 2011, 6 a.m.
An increase in physical activity is linked to an improvement in diet quality.
While a healthy diet and the right amount of exercise are considered to be key players in treating and preventing obesity, Harvard University (Massachusetts, USA) researchers reveal that an increase in physical activity is linked to an improvement in diet quality. Miguel Alonso Alonso and colleagues analyzed data from epidemiological studies, finding that tendencies towards a healthy diet and the right amount of physical exercise often come hand in hand. Furthermore, an increase in physical activity is usually linked to a parallel improvement in diet quality. Exercise also brings benefits such as an increase in sensitivity to physiological signs of fullness. This not only means that appetite can be controlled better but it also modifies hedonic responses to food stimuli. Therefore, benefits can be classified as those that occur in the short term (of metabolic predominance) and those that are seen in the long term (of behavioral predominance). Commenting that: “By enhancing the resources that facilitate ‘top-down’ inhibitory control, increased physical activity may help compensate and suppress the hedonic drive to over-eat,” the study authors submit that: “Understanding how physical activity and eating behaviours interact on a neurocognitive level may help to maintain a healthy lifestyle in an obesogenic environment.”
R. J. Joseph, M. Alonso-Alonso, D. S. Bond, A. Pascual-Leone, G. L. Blackburn. “The neurocognitive connection between physical activity and eating behavior.” Obesity Reviews, Volume 12, Issue 10, October 2011, Pages: 800–812.