London: Exercising is not the best way to lose weight because our activity levels are the same as they were 20 years ago. Rather a balanced diet is instrumental in shedding that flab, says a study.
John Speakman of Aberdeen University in Britain ascribes the growing obesity problem to people eating too much, not a lack of exercise.
Working with a Dutch colleague, Speakman analysed two decades of studies on energy expenditure.
The data showed that despite greater reliance on time-saving technology, people today are not any less active than those of 20 years ago.
Factors such as decline in the number of children walking to school and a rise in TV watching do not necessarily equate to weight gain, according to the International Journal of Obesity.
For example, children driven to school have more time to spend running around in the playground while evening TV watching has replaced other sedentary activities such as reading and listening to the radio.
Speakman told the British Science Festival: "In the 1950s, no one would have bought an exercise bike and sat on it in their garage but now people will do that."
However, the researcher stressed that physical activity is good for the body in other ways and should be part of a "healthy, balanced lifestyle."