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Physical Activity and Obesity

Author: Bouchard C, et al.
Category: Health/Fitness
Audience: Academic
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Human Kinetics
  Year Published: 2000
List Price: $64.00® Rating: Worth A Look

Physical Activity and Obesity is a comprehensive review of research issues pertaining to obesity.


This is a multi-authored textbook, edited by Claude Bouchard, PhD, a recognized expert in obesity research. The majority of the 35 contributors are from the US, with others from Canada, UK, and The Netherlands.


This 400-page text is organized as follows:

PART I: The Obesity Epidemic

  • Chapter 1:  Introduction
  • Chapter 2:  The Current Epidemic of Obesity
  • Chapter 3:  Overweight, Mortality, and Morbidity
  • Chapter 4:  The Cost of Obesity and Sedentarism in the US

PART II: The Biological and Behavioral Determinants of Obesity

  • Chapter 5:  The Determinants of Obesity
  • Chapter 6:  Assessment of Human Energy Expenditure
  • Chapter 7:  The Assessment of Energy and Nutrient Intake in Humans
  • Chapter 8:  Human Energy and Nutrient Balance
  • Chapter 9:  Adipose Tissue Metabolism and Obesity
  • Chapter 10:  Skeletal Muscle Metabolism and Obesity

PART III: Physical Activity in the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity

  • Chapter 11:  Physical Activity and Body Composition in Children and Adolescents
  • Chapter 12:  Physical Activity Level and Weight Control in Adults
  • Chapter 13:  Physical Activity Level and Weight Control in Older Citizens
  • Chapter 14:  Physical Activity Level and Weight Control During Pregnancy
  • Chapter 15:  Physical Activity Level and the Treatment of Severe Obesity
  • Chapter 16:  Physical Activity and Maintenance of Weight Loss

PART IV: Physical Activity, Fitness, and Health in the Obese

  • Chapter 17:  Physical Activity and the Metabolic Complications of Obesity
  • Chapter 18:  Is It Possible to be Overweight or Obese and Fit and Healthy?
  • Chapter 19:  Changing Lifestyle: Moving From Sedentary to Active


It becomes quickly obvious, from the Table of Contents, that this text is comprehensive. Unfortunately, this is a major flaw, in my opinion.

While the title is Physical Activity and Obesity, in fact, the text covers just about any issue relevant to obesity, including: genetic issues, research methodology, mortality rates and other public health issues, and more. It even covers, albeit briefly, topics such as alcohol, caffeine, and capsaicin.

Yet, while the issues covered are broad, the actual discussion of physical activity as it relates to managing obesity misses the mark. Based on what the title implies, I had hopes of finding a comprehensive review of topics such as:

• a comparison of the benefits of running vs. walking for managing obesity

• a comparison of aerobic types of exercise vs. resistance exercise for managing obesity

• a summary of workplace and school exercise programs that have been shown to be effective

• a summary of exercise prescriptions currently recommended by various sports medicine and clinical medicine organizations and a critique of why they differ.

I could not find these issues addressed adequately in this text.

Further, even when studies assessing exercise-wt. loss relationships were discussed, not enough details were provided to glean a proper understanding of what worked and what didn't. Most often, the exercise program was only described in general terms, such as:

  • p. 165: "A high intensity interval program combined with endurance training..."
  • p. 166: "...a weight-reducing program consisting of aerobic exercise..."
  • p. 191: "...following 20 weeks of exercise..."
  • p. 230: "...3 days/week of physical education..." and "...a period of supervised physical training..."
  • p. 266: "...a progressive 8-week endurance program..."
  • p. 267: "...a progressive-resistance exercise program..."


Considering the length of this book (400 pages), I expected details such as the FITT (frequency, intensity, type, time) of these regimens and also, the recommended "dose" of exercise for obese subjects.  I feel this is a major flaw which is unfortunate because, otherwise, this is a very comprehensive book. The contributors are extensive and qualified. Each chapter is very well referenced, with some chapters having over 150 citations.


Physical Activity and Obesity is a comprehensive resource.  However, I  feel that the title is misleading. Something like Review of Current Research in Obesity Management would seem to be more appropriate.

Copyright ©2005 AthleteInMe, LLC. All rights reserved.

Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD 9/18/2020 10:58:19 AM

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