A good laugh makes a first class diet! Incredible but true; this is American scientists' conclusion, after a study realized on 45 adults.

Researchers found that a strong laughter for 10-15 minutes daily can increase energy consumption by 10 to 40 calories per day. This fact alone may induce a weight loss of half to 2 kg annually!

The paper was communicated during the 14th European Congress on Obesity, which takes place in Megaron, the Athens Conference Hall, from June 1st to June 4th.

Congress keynote speakers emphasized on the role of lifestyle, both in controlling body weight and improving basic health indexes in humans.

A group of Dane scientists referred to the ?epidemic? of obesity, which occurs concern. Interestingly, they observed that, in spite of the efforts to reduce foods high in fats, the number of obese persons has not ceased to increase.

In the attempt to justify this phenomenon, they underlined that, reduced physical activity, increased consumption of refreshments containing sugar, bigger sized meals and deficient report of fat consumption by patients, continuously increase the obese population worldwide.

The study of the Dane scientists showed that a 10% reduction of dietary fats, leads to a weight loss of 3-4 kg in overweight and 5-6 kg in obese people. The general trend was to replace food fats with a lot of fiber, high molecular weight carbohydrates and proteins.

Scientists also proceeded to long-term trials, during which participants' fat intake was equal to 25-30% of the overall calories they consumed. This effort was combined with a special programme for the increase of physical activity, leading to a 2-5 kg weight loss.

The obese and overweight individuals, who participated in the study, maintained the attained body weight for 4-5 years; moreover, they had a general beneficial effect on their health, as it was also found that, in addition to good physical condition, they had a decrease of the risk for cardiovascular events and a 58% reduction in diabetes.

Long-term results

The results reported during the Congress, regarding body weight maintenance after weight loss through diets, were of particular interest.

According to experts, diets for weight loss high in proteins are used excessively, but there are not enough data on their long-term efficacy.

However, they all agreed that the best way to maintain the good result of a diet and to prevent obesity is very frequent physical activity.

Scientists from the Netherlands attempted to determine the duration and frequency of physical activity with accuracy, in order to maximize the positive effects of a diet. The general principle - they stated - is that reduction of calories consumption is critical in obesity prevention, in the loss of extra kilos and the maintenance of the proper body weight.

Following a study in obese subjects, they discovered that 60-90 minutes of moderate daily physical activity is required for previously obese individuals, in order to avoid regaining their lost kilos. Moreover, an overweight individual needs 45-60 minutes of moderate physical activity on a daily basis, in order to avoid transition to obesity stage.

The ECO 2005 Congress (14th European Congress on Obesity)

ECO 2005 is the most significant European scientific event on obesity and is organized every year by a national scientific association, member of the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO - http://www.easoobesity.org).

This year, EASO has assigned the organization of the 14th European Congress on Obesity (ECO 2005, http://www.eco2005.gr), which will be held in Athens, from June 1st to 4th 2005, to the Hellenic Medical Association for Obesity (http://www.hmao.gr).

The congress is organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Municipality of Athens, the Athens Medical School and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. For more information, visit the congress website, http://www.eco2005.gr.