How Does Strength Training Compare With Body Weight in Reducing Risk Factors for Cardiometabolic Disease in Overweight-Obese Young Men?

In the United States, about one-third of adults are obese. The lack of exercise that contributes to obesity has led to confusion about whether fitness or body weight is more important to health. This study looks at at the fitness vs. body weight “controversy” in young men, but in a different way. The innovative aspect of this study is comparing two groups who had habitually been doing similar amount of weight training (and had similar strength levels) and two groups with similar body weights. The overweight/obese and normal-weight strength-trained individuals had similar levels of measures of disease risk and both were better on these measures than overweight/obese individuals who did not have a history of regular strength training. These findings are important because they challenge the existing view of the importance of body weight classification and suggests that regular weight training strength fitness may be more critical to health. Furthermore, strength fitness may be an alternate therapeutic target, especially in those unable to normalize body weight. Ultimately, it may be time for us to shift the focus to changing lifestyles as opposed to just focusing on body weight and weight loss.

View the study’s abstract