This should be encouraging if your New Year's resolution is to exercise.
Duke researchers studied nearly 200 overweight sedentary men and women for eight months and nobody changed their eating habits. Those who exercised hardest, jogging 17 to 20 miles a week lost the most weight, about eight pounds, but those who just walked an average of 12 miles a week, still lost a few pounds and saw some inches disappear.
While the control group, those who didn't exercise at all, gained weight. Researchers say that reinforces the importance of staying active, that even a little can help a lot.
The study was conducted at Duke University Medical Center and published in the issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
55% of Americans are overweight or obese according to the Duke researchers. From 1991 to 1998, the incidence of obesity increased by almost 50%.
Obesity is associated with a higher risk for several health problems, including heart disease and diabetes mellitus. It is widely believed that diet, combined with physical activity, plays an important role in weight management, but the amount of activity needed to prevent weight gain is unknown.