Fitness not fatness should be the mantra

24 October, 2011

The current focus on overweight and obesity by government and health professionals is misguided, a keynote speaker said at Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport.

Physical inactivity and the resulting low fitness should be our greatest concern to stem the increasing incidence of chronic disease.

Keynote speaker Rob Newton from The School of Exercise and Health Sciences said that fitness not fatness should be our mantra.

"Research clearly demonstrates that normal weight people who are sedentary are at far greater risk of morbidity and mortality than overweight people who are physically active and fit," said Professor Newton.

"Evidence shows that being physically active results in a 20 per cent reduction in lung cancer, 30 per cent reduction in breast cancer, 50 per cent reduction in colon cancer and 70 per cent reduction in prostate cancer.

"Up to 50 per cent of patients could be prevented from progressing to Type II diabetes if they met physical activity guidelines.

"Dementia and in particular Alzheimer’s disease progression is markedly slowed by appropriate exercise. Exercise is now deemed a critical adjuvant treatment in the management of cancer.

"Breast cancer survivors halve their risk of dying if they can meet a relatively modest exercise dosage and colon cancer patients can increase their disease free survival by 55 per cent.

"It is now well established that cardiorespiratory fitness is the principal predictor of all cause mortality,” said Professor Newton.

ACSMS 2011 will showcase the latest in sports science, sports medicine, physical activity promotion and sports injury prevention and offer a plethora of international and homegrown speakers speaking on a range of topics encompassing groin/football, training effects, physical activity – interventions/policy/advocacy, shoulder, upper limb, biomechanics, physical activity in children/adolescents, rehabilitation and return to sport, and exercise and recovery.

ACSMS 2011 will be held from October 19-22, 2011 at The Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle. The theme of the conference is "Optimising Health and Fitness – Participation, Prevention and Performance".

Source: Sports medicine Australia