No difference in metabolic rates found between hunter-gatherers and desk workers
Experts on health and fitness have long believed that our hunter-gatherer ancestors used more energy than we do now, suggesting that lack of exercise may cause the obesity epidemic.
Experts on health and fitness have long believed that our hunter-gatherer ancestors used more energy than we do now, suggesting that lack of exercise may cause the obesity epidemic. Obesity's comorbid conditions include type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease that may require patients to buy Actos or Lipitor.
According to a new study published in PLoS ONE, this assumption is incorrect. The study measured daily energy expenditure in Hadza hunter-gatherers and Westerners. The results suggest that there is no difference in the metabolic cost of walking and resting between the two groups.
"The vast majority of what we spend our calories on is things you will never see like keeping our organs and immune system going. Physical activity is just the tip of the iceberg. [...] This study shows that you can have a very different lifestyle, but [energy use] all adds up to the same level no matter what," Herman Pontzer, of Hunter College in New York, who led the study with colleagues from Stanford and Arizona universities, told the Telegraph.
So what does this mean? The current idea that Western lifestyles lead to decreased energy expenditure may be misleading, and instead the amount of food consumed for energy is the more likely cause of obesity.
More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7 percent) are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.