“Exercise: Is More Always Better?” by Kathleen Doheny

Where

The article by Doheny (2016) comes from the WebMD website, a credible source that provides health news and information through articles written by experts in medicine and journalism. WebMD has received numerous awards including those from healthcare and journalism organizations, and the readers are invited to learn about it with the help of the section Awards and Recognition (2016).

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Who

The author of the article is Kathleen Doheny (2016), a journalist with many years of experience in writing on health topics, primarily behavior, and fitness (which corresponds to the topic of the article). She had been writing for many reputable magazines, for example, the Los Angeles Times, and won several journalism awards. The report was also reviewed by the chief medical editor of the website Michael W. Smith (2016), MD, MBA, CPT, a member of the American College of Physicians, HealthLeaders Media Council, Nutrition Wellness Educator Certification Panel. He heads the medical team of WebMD that works to ensure the credibility of the features published. Both the author and the reviewer are, therefore, qualified for the production of an article on health topics.

When

The article is most current as it was published about a month ago. It contributes to our understanding of the human body and health. Therefore, there is a chance that future research may provide some additional or even contradicting data, but it will not be considered outdated until then.

What

The article is devoted to a study carried out by a group of scientists headed by Pontzer, Ph.D. The research involved 300 people of both genders, and different races and ethnicities; it tracked the amount of exercise the participants were taking and the calories they burnt. It was concluded that there is an “energy expenditure plateau,” a certain threshold, which designates the limit for the significant increase in energy expenditure.

In other words, despite having more exercise than the threshold indicated, the people who increased their activity did not significantly increase their calorie expenditure. The threshold appears to be specific for every person and may change, but this information is more of a guess than a fact. The research attempts to discover more about the mechanisms of losing weight which is significant in the terms of the modern “obesity epidemic.” In the interview, the researchers point out the importance of exercise for overall health and insist that no changes in the “public health message” should be made. The research was published in Current Biology (2016), a peer-reviewed biology journal.

I would say that the information is believable: it is well-known that losing weight is a very difficult process, and this study might explain another reason for these problems.

How

The article sites the sources, but it is primarily concerned with the main source: the study by Pontzer et al. Apart from that, the information from the study is discussed by two of the researchers: a professor of anthropology and an associate professor who specializes in endocrinology and metabolism. The article provides the details of the study and indicates its disadvantages (for example, the lack of information on weight gain and loss of the participants), and makes a clear line between the data that is proved by the research and the researcher’s interpretations and beliefs. No additional evidence was collected.

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Summarize

The article presents an unbiased report on a scientific study, it is well-referenced but possibly one-sided. There is no additional evidence, and the information is presented “as is,” and if it is not correct, it is the fault of the researchers. The author of the article, as well as those of the study, are all competent experts, the journal and the website are credible. In general, I am prone to believe the data gathered, although I realize that future research may modify the knowledge I had gained.

References

Awards and Recognition. (2016). Web.

Current Biology: Information for Authors. (2016). Web.

​Doheny, K. (2016). Exercise: Is More Always Better? WebMD. Web.

Kathleen Doheny. (2016). Web.

Michael W. Smith. (2016). Web.

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