Physiologic mechanisms linking physical activity and energy balance

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Increased physical activity and less physical inactivity raises total energy expenditure, allowing individuals to consume more calories without gaining weight. There are several lines of evidence to indicate that individuals with 'a low energy output syndrome' are at an increased risk of weight gain and obesity, irrespective of whether this is caused by a genetically determined low resting metabolic rate [9], by low levels of fidgeting or by an environmentally determined low level of physical activity [10]. Athletes with very high levels of physical activity may have the opposite problem: difficulty in ingesting enough calories to replenish and maintain body energy and fat stores.

Exercise bouts are followed by an acute suppression of hunger. This mechanism is short lived and it is more likely to occur after exercise of high intensity. Both physiologic and behavioral factors play a role in the maintenance of energy balance. Sedentary behavior allows more opportunity for food intake than a physically active lifestyle, e.g. children watching television are more likely to snack and drink than children engaged in sports activities.

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