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Mayo Clinic discovers a key to 'low metabolism' and major factor in obesity

ight, the naturally obese group sat more and moved less. And even after gaining weight, the naturally lean group stood, walked and even fidgeted more than the other group. The researchers' conclusion: Obese people are NEAT-deficient, perhaps as a result of a neurological defect in processing biological drives and environmental cues.

Implications

The Mayo Clinic researchers believe the discovery of the effects of NEAT on obesity is so strong that it should be used to prompt a "NEAT revolution" to reverse the epidemic trends of obesity. "This is entirely doable, because the kind of activity we are talking about does not require special or large spaces, unusual training regimens or gear. Unlike running a marathon, NEAT is within the reach of everyone," Dr. Levine says.

So promising is the role of NEAT in explaining obesity that Dr. Levine believes further studies are warranted to help expand scientists' understanding of the biology of obesity.

Collaboration and Support

In addition to Dr. Levine, members of the Mayo Clinic research team include: Matthew Clark, Ph.D.; Michael Jensen, M.D.; Paul Kane; Alisa Krizan; Lorraine Lanningham-Foster, Ph.D.; Shelly McCrady and Leslie Olson. The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health; Mr. and Mrs. T.S. Ward; the Minnesota Obesity Center and Mayo Foundation.

10 Neat Things to Know About NEAT:

The most detailed and data-rich study of obesity ever undertaken was performed at the Mayo Clinic and published January 27, 2005 in the journal Science. Results show that it's metabolically more effective to put more NEAT -- "non-exercise activity thermogenesis" -- into your life to achieve a healthy body weight, than to seek organized exercise.

To prepare, design and carry out this NEAT study over the past decade, Mayo Clinic brought together:

  • 20 study participants who were willing to forgo Christmas peanut brit
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Contact: Bob Nellis
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
27-Jan-2005


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