Recent Blog Articles

In the journals: Exercise limits weight gain in normal-weight but not heavier women

Updated: June 01, 2010

As most of us know, about two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and excess weight is a major health problem. Weight gain occurs when energy intake (calories consumed) exceeds energy output (calories burned). Many studies have shown that physical activity can promote weight loss among people who are overweight or obese, but far fewer have investigated whether it can prevent unhealthy weight gain in the first place. That's the focus of a study by Harvard Medical School researchers published in the March 24/31, 2010, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. The research team was led by Prof. I-Min Lee of Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, who is on the advisory board of Harvard Women's Health Watch.

The researchers analyzed data provided by 34,079 healthy women, average age 54, who were participating in the long-term Women's Health Study. Between 1992 and 2007, the women reported their body weight and physical activities every three years. They also provided information on matters that could affect the link between physical activity and weight change, such as smoking, postmenopausal hormone use, alcohol intake, and diet.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.