A new study suggests that diet may play a more significant role than exercise in weight control. That conclusion, reported recently in the PLoS One Journal, was reached by a team of six researchers representing a number of universities in the U.S., U.K., and Tanzania.
The study, conducted in Tanzania, compared the total daily energy expenditure (kCal/day) of 30 members of the Hadza tribe, one of the last groups of hunter-gatherers in the world, with that of their Western counterparts.
A GPS/heart-rate monitor was used to monitor the Hadzas’ activity, and the researchers took into account the effects of age, gender, body weight, and body fat percentage.
Though the Hadza travel long distances over open savannah everyday, foraging for food and hunting for game, their daily energy expenditure, the researchers found, was essentially the same as that of the average sedentary office worker in the U.S. or Europe.
The researchers say there’s evidence that daily energy expenditure is an evolved trait that remains relatively constant despite widely varying lifestyles. “Difference in obesity prevalence between populations result primarily from difference in energy intake (food) rather than expenditure (exercise),” the authors conclude.
The researchers, including ones from Hunter college in New York City, are currently working to raise monies to benefit the Hadza, and ask that prospective donors log on to hadzafund.org