New research has concluded that regular exercise can decrease the levels of leptin, “the fat hormone,” reducing the risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases (American Heart Association). Leptin is in the bloodstream and is produced by the body’s fat cells, and seems to increase as physical activity decreases. A recent study looked at the levels of leptin and physical activity in 268 men aged 47 to 83 who did not have histories of cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes. The participants were questioned on what types of food they ate, how much they exercised, if they smoked or consumed alcohol, and if so, how much, to determine their dietary and lifestyle habits. The researchers found that the men with the highest leptin levels did not exercise regularly, weighed more and ate foods higher in saturated fat than men with low leptin levels. The men with higher leptin levels usually produced more insulin, a risk factor that could lead to diabetes, but more research needs to be done to confirm this finding.
The best way to help your members to decrease their leptin levels is to recommend exercise. An increase of physical activity by 20 MET, about 25 minutes of jogging per day, was found to decrease leptin levels by 10 percent. In addition to decreasing leptin levels, regular exercise will help reduce your members’ risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases, as well as lose weight and body fat, and help boost self-confidence.