Exercise May Aid Digestive Ills in Obese Adults
The results of a study published in Clinical Gastroenterology andHepatology assert that obese adults may be less likely to suffer from abdominalcramps, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems when they exercise,as opposed to not exercising. While researchers were unable to make aclear correlation between exercise and digestive problems, they do believethat adverse symptoms can be alleviated through exercise. Similar studieshave shown that overweight and obese people are more likely to suffer fromdigestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and it is not yetclear whether excess weight or diet/exercise habits are the cause.The study article demonstrates that the higher body massindex a person has, the greater likelihood there is ofcramping, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, theoreticallybrought on by eating and exercise habits.Exercise, the authors found, appeared to easethese digestive symptoms. These findingswere based on data from 983 overweightpeople enrolled in a weight-loss study. IBSwas prevalent in 13%, and another 20%reported trouble with abdominal pain,while bloating with diarrhea affected25% of the participants. Among thosepeople who reported exercising, however,there was a lower incidence of digestiveproblems. According to lead authorRona L. Levy, PhD, it is possible thatexercise eases such symptoms througheffects on the digestive system or, lessdirectly, through psychosocial benefits—perhaps by helping people to put less focuson their symptoms. More research is needed,Dr. Levy added.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.