UN Data Helps Balance New Year’s Weight Loss Resolutions |

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released useful new data from its Double-Labeled Water Database (DLW), which provides information on the effectiveness of exercise in stimulating loss of weight.

The results are not as straightforward as you might think.

“When enrolled in exercise programs to lose weight, most people lose a little weight, some lose a lot, but a few unlucky people gain weight,” said John Speakman, president of the DLW Database Management Group and one of the study’s authors.

Treadmill effect

According to the study, in people with a normal body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9, the body will compensate for calories burned during exercise by 28%, which means that only 72% of calories will be lost. during the day.

However, with age and weight, this ratio decreases and those with the highest body mass index will lose only 51% of the calories burned during exercise.

The study confirms that individuals differ in the way their bodies budgets for energy consumption, and people with obesity may have difficulty losing weight because their bodies are efficient at holding onto their fat storage. .

© UNHCR / Benjamin Loyseau

Track and field athlete and Tokyo 2020 Refugee Olympic Team member Anlelina Nadai Lohalith from South Sudan trains on a track in Nairobi.

More than just an exercise

There are many health benefits that can be achieved by being more active and exercising, but relying on exercise alone will not help you lose weight.Said Alexia Alford, IAEA nutrition specialist and co-author.

The guidelines for weight loss do not take into account the reduction in calories burned by other functions of normal life, because the body compensates for the calories burned during exercise.

“If you increase your activity, your body will compensate for it in other areas and reduce the calories burned during breathing, digestion, restlessness and, in general, with the maintenance and functioning of the body”, she explained. “It can actually be a lot of things.”

It is essential to combine a healthy diet with a more balanced lifestyle to maintaining a calorific deficit for weight loss, according to the co-author.

Using DLW to study a body’s total energy expenditure is not new, but the high cost of oxygen-18 and the machines to measure it has so far kept studies small.

In 2018, the IAEA was approached by a group of DLW investigators who wanted to make their datasets more widely available, and the IAEA DLW database was expanded.

Today, the database contains DLW data of over 7,600 people, making it the largest collection in the world.

Free and accessible to researchers with questions defined and approved by management, IAEA DLW database contains information on various cases, ranging from athletes to cancer patients and people with cerebral palsy.

“An untapped treasure”

As most of the data comes from studies conducted in Western countries, such as the United States and the Netherlands, the IAEA seeks to further expand the dataset, to include Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Next year, it will launch a coordinated research project to add more data on low-income countries.

“Our database is an invaluable asset for better understanding the functioning of the human body. This exercise study is a prime example; While most DLW studies typically involve around 30 subjects, the exercise study had over 1,600, which makes the data very robust, ”said Ms. Alford.

“The data in the IAEA’s DLW database is an untapped treasure, and we encourage researchers to contact us to access its content and contribute to their own datasets.”


Jon Witt, a practitioner of therapeutic yoga poses in Jersey City.

Winnie Witt

Jon Witt, a practitioner of therapeutic yoga poses in Jersey City.

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