In spite of many studies showing that for long term weight maintenance, physical activity levels may not be as important as dietary intake. In an effort to provide more evidence for the role of physical activity and weight gain, we followed 1,944 men and women enrolled in the Modeling the Epidemiologic Transition Study for 2 years. METS is a 5-country study (US, Seychelles, Jamaica, South Africa and Ghana) investigating the role of diet and physical activity in weight change.
We measured their physical activity levels at baseline and then weighed them every year for 2 years. After the 2 years, weight gain tended to be higher in participants who were normal weight (BMI<25 kg/m) at baseline, compared to participants who were classified as obese (BMI >=30 kg/m). We also found that participants in the US and Jamaica experienced the smallest weight gains compared to participants in Ghana and South Africa. Our study confirms that baseline physical activity levels may not be associated with 2 year weight gain in participants spanning the economic transition.
The link to our study can be found here.