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Maintaining Healthy Weight – the Razor’s Edge:
Findings from the Latest Research

Weight is probably the most talked-about yet misunderstood health issue in America. Endless theories, myths, and diet trends make it difficult to distill the basics of how to maintain a healthy weight. Here are five simple facts to keep in mind.

  1. Weight gain occurs when caloric intake exceeds caloric expenditure (physical activity). Unfortunately, weight gain can result from even small increases in calorie consumption, while the amount of exercise necessary to maintain weight is substantial.

  2. Because a pound of fat tissue has about 3500 kcal, eating 1 extra 60-kcal (very small) cookie daily would cause 6 lbs. weight gain in one year.

  3. Recent data from the Women’s Health Study indicate that middle aged women who are at normal weight need to exercise at moderate intensity for 60 minutes per day to avoid weight gain. Moderate exercises are walking, jogging, tennis, and cycling.

  4. Women who were above that weight at baseline, continued to gain weight even at that level of exercise. To maintain weight, they need to exercise longer and/or more intensely, or eat less.

  5. Balancing calories in and calories out requires unrelenting attention to what we eat and the amount of physical activity we perform. Striking the right, on-going balance requires developing life-long eating and exercise habits – something temporary diets often fail to create.


  1. Katan MB, Ludwig DS. Extra calories cause weight gain – but how much? JAMA. 2010;303(1)65-66.

  2. Lee I-M, Djousse L, Sesso HD, Wang L, Buring JE. Physical activity and weight gain prevention. JAMA. 2010;303(12):1173-1179.
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