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Body fat content (%)

Figure 1 Association between daily energy intake and body fat content. (For further details see Maughan RJ and Piehl Aulin K (1997) Energy needs for physical activity. In: Simopoulos AP and Pavlou KN (eds.) World Review of Nutrition, vol. 82, pp. 18-32. Basel: Karger.)

effects of exercise on appetite and energy intake are also unclear. A period of activity may result in a stimulation of the appetite, leading to an increase in the energy intake: the magnitude of the increased intake may exceed the total energy expenditure of the activity itself. There are, however, reports that exercise may lead to a suppression of appetite, and this is likely to be true especially of high-intensity exercise. A modest training program involving energy expenditure of 200 kcal three times per week has been reported to have no effect on energy intake. In the study of distance runners referred to above, there was a negative association between the training load (expressed as distance run per week) and body fat and a positive association between training load and energy intake: this led to a somewhat paradoxical negative association between energy intake and body fat content (Figure 1).

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