Exercise in the treatment of obesity

Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2003 Dec;32(4):967-80. doi: 10.1016/s0889-8529(03)00075-6.


Exercise is an important component of behavioral weight control interventions, and exercise may be most effective for weight control when combined with modifications to energy intake. Clinicians should initially encourage overweight and obese adults to adopt at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week (30 min x 5 d/wk), because this level of exercise has been shown to improve health-related outcomes. Higher levels of exercise, however, may be necessary to enhance long-term weight loss and to facilitate weight loss maintenance. It is now recommended that exercise be progressively increased to approximately 300 minutes per week (60 min x 5 d/wk) to optimize the impact of exercise on body weight regulation. Adoption of this high level of exercise may be challenging, however, and therefore clinicians should counsel patients to incorporate intermittent and lifestyle approaches for exercise to maximize adherence. Moreover, devices such as pedometers may facilitate goal-setting and self-monitoring of exercise, and these are critical components of effective behavioral interventions. Incorporation of these recommendations may increase the likelihood of clinicians' prescribing exercise for overweight and obese adults to effectively manage their body weight.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physical Examination