Sports and Health

Diet vs. Exercise

And the battle against obesity

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  • Diet relates to the food that you put in your body. Exercise relates to the physical activity that burns calories and fat. 

  • Losing weight results from burning more calories than you consume.

  • Obesity can result from bad food habits, lack of exercise, genetics, stress and more. [National Institutes of Health]

bmi chartThe Mayo Clinc

To determine your BMI, find your height in the left column on the chart. Follow that row across to the weight nearest yours. Look at the top of that column for your approximate BMI.

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) uses weight and height to estimate an approximate body fat. [Medical News Today]

  • One is obese when their BMI is 20% higher than it should be. [Medical News Today]

  • Obesity leads to heart problems, diabetes, and other medical issues, and causes over 18% of American adult deaths. [National Institutes of Health]



At least 20% of residents in each U.S. state are obese, affecting one in five children aged 6-19. [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation]


Many consider obesity a national health crisis and continue to ask what is more effective for losing weight: diet or exercise?


Burn it

Exercise has more overall health benefits and helps in gaining muscle over just losing fat. [Mayo Clinc], [The Huffington Post]




Your body can often continue to burn calories after a workout. [Live Strong Foundation]



Long-term results

Diets can show results for a few days or weeks. Studies show those who keep off the weight long term are physically active. [Mayo Clinc]


All in the numbers

Many studies show effective weight loss is about 75% diet and 25% exercise. [The New York Times]



Take in

Cutting out unhealthy foods by eating healthy options can be more effective for losing and maintaining weight loss. [The New York Times]



Healthy vs. unhealthy

Think about this: you can exercise extensively, eat unhealthy foods and not have the desired results. If you eat healthy foods with exercise, weight loss results are much higher. [The New York Times]


  • Popular treatments for obesity include a combination of diet and exercise, and potentially surgery. [Mayo Clinc]

  • Health care can be more expensive for those with obesity. [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation]

  • Those who are obese often face weight stigma.

  • Some argue using BMI as a health indicator is out of date. [Buisness Insider]

Key Vocabulary