INDIANAPOLIS – The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has published its Position Stand “Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults,” updating its previous guidelines, particularly as it relates to the increased levels of physical activity that may be necessary for prevention of weight gain, for weight loss and for prevention of weight regain. The official ACSM pronouncement is published in the February 2009 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.
The paper is a companion to “Weight Management,” a position paper published by the American Dietetic Association in the February issue Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Together, the statements provide a thorough, scientific overview of two of the most important components of a healthy lifestyle: exercise and nutrition.
Among its recommendations, the ACSM Position Stand emphasizes physical activity and its relation to weight loss and weight management. Its prominent points include:
- Weight management is an urgent public health issue, with more than 66 percent of U.S. adults either overweight or obese. Health improvements in chronic disease risk factors can be realized with as little as a 2- to 3-percent reduction in excess body weight.
- Greater amounts of physical activity are likely to be needed to achieve weight loss and prevent weight regain in adults. The panel recognized the amounts in these categories:
Prevent weight gain -- 150-250 minutes/week of moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with prevention of weight gain. More than 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with modest weight loss.
Weight loss -- 150-250 minutes/week of moderate-intensity physical activity provides only modest weight loss. Greater amounts (ie. >250) provide clinically significant weight loss.
For weight maintenance after weight loss -- There is some evidence that >250 minutes/week of moderate-intensity physical activity will prevent weight re-gain.
- Energy/diet restriction combined with physical activity will increase weight loss as compared to diet alone.
ACSM recommends that adults participate in at least 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity physical activity to prevent significant weight gain and reduce associated chronic disease risk factors. For most adults, this amount of physical activity can be easily achieved in 30 minutes/day, five days a week. Overweight and obese individuals will most likely experience greater weight reduction and prevent weight regain with 250+ minutes/week of moderate-intensity physical activity. ACSM also recommends strength training as part of this health and fitness regimen, in order to increase fat-free mass and further reduce health risks.
“In the midst of a genuine crisis in Americans’ health related to what we eat and how little we move, these guidelines are meant to provide an understanding and clarification of the role of physical activity and its relationship to weight,” said Joseph E. Donnelly, Ed.D., FACSM, chair of the writing committee. “Now that we have the latest information on how much physical activity is part of the equation, we can continue the educational process to help people who struggle with their weight.”
“Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults” replaces the 2001 Position Stand, “Appropriate Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults.” To access this Position Stand, visit www.acsm-msse.org.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.
NOTE: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® is the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, and is available from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins at 1-800-638-6423. For a complete copy of the research paper (Vol. 41, No. 2, pages 459-471) or to speak with a leading sports medicine expert on the topic, contact the Department of Communications and Public Information at 317-637-9200 ext. 127 or 133. Visit ACSM online at www.acsm.org.