I am looking for the answer to what I think is a very basic question that people must have looked at: empirically, to what degree does food intake actually correlate with exercise, (especially in the United States)?

I am only secondarily interested in removing confounding variables here - what I am looking for is just a raw correlation, e.g., something like a chart with exercise by hours per day or by calories burned per day on the x axis, and calories consumed per day on the y-axis.

I have tried looking for some studies online, but do not have access to some of the journals (e.g., PubMed) that I think may give good information on this subject.

Does anyone know of some good answers to this question, and/or some studies that answer it?

Thanks for any help!

  • What is the context here: weight loss?
    – Jan
    Oct 8 '18 at 13:59
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    I don't think you're going to find something like this, and it would be very hard to correlate. Obese people have a higher daily caloric need just due to the sheer body mass. For example, I am 5'11, 180 lbs. My BMR is ~1700 calories. If I weighed 300 lbs, it would be ~ 2400 calories. So it would probably come down to thin = eat less. Thin + exercise = eat more. Obese = eat more. Obese + exercise = eat lots more. (Assuming every one is weight static, not seeking to lose/gain). Not sure if there would be evidence supporting this to be found.
    – JohnP
    Oct 8 '18 at 14:23
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    You may be right that the information isn't available - if so, then I guess oh well. Re. context: From my end, the context is just general curiosity. I've been reading lately about a few interrelated topics - agriculture, climate, consumption habits, energy usage - and this question popped into my head several times. I thought the answer would be easy to find, but it was surprisingly difficult, so here I am :). Oct 9 '18 at 1:10
  • In individuals who maintain a steady weight and individuals who have lost weight and are in maintenance phase, higher amounts of exertion is generally balanced by increase in hunger thus intake, but it is correct in my exploration as well that the exact correlation is not well studied, and not consistent enough to make a clear case.
    – DoctorWhom
    Oct 9 '18 at 4:32

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