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Weight Loss - Standing At Work Can Lower Your Weight - Dr. Oz on ABC News Program 20/20 with John Stossel Body Myths Program

June 24th 2006

Weight Loss - Standing At Work Can Lower Your Weight - Dr. Oz on ABC News Program 20/20 with John Stossel Body Myths Program

John Stossel

Many people believe that a high metabolism correlates to a thinner physique. But is that true?  It seems that thin people can eat and eat without gaining weight.  They appear to be blessed with a high metabolism.

It is actually more complicated than that, according to Dr. Jim Levine who was featured on Friday’s ABC News program 20/20.  The program compared two individuals, a lean Kathy Strickland and a heavier Dawn Campion.  According to Levine, an obesity researcher at the Mayo Clinic and has studied the metabolism of lean and heavy people, “Dawn's numbers are actually higher because what we find continuously is that people with weight problems who have obesity have a higher basal metabolism compared to people who are lean.”

This was one of the 10 “body myths” explored by John Stossel along with aging guru Dr. Michael F. Roizen and heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, authors of "You: The Owner's Manual". 


Dr. Oz said the metabolism correlation with weight has been looked at several times.  He said “It's generally false that your metabolism is the reason for your weight."  Levine says that most of the patients who come to his clinic have a higher metabolism.  "Your basal metabolism is the calories you burn to keep your body going, so if your body is bigger, of course your basal metabolism is greater," according to Levine. "If your body is smaller your basal metabolism is less."

So what can you do?  Levine says people can become obese by simply not moving around as much.  By simply standing at a desk can increase your metabolism by 40 percent.  He says moving more will also reduce the risk for becoming obese.

Dr. Levine outfitted Dawn and Kathy with “data-logging underwear” to determine how much each of them moved during the day.  Later Levine would take the devices and attach them to a computer to extract the data.  Levine says people with obesity have a tendency to be seated for two and a half hours more than those that are not obese.  


After comparing the two subjects, he found that Kathleen was moving around a lot more than Dawn.  Dawn had a desk job and was sitting most of the day.  They say that people that move during they day can burn 350 calories more per day than those that don’t.  This can add up to between 30 and 50 pounds per year. 

The doctor has not stopped walking for two years and even insisted on being interviewed on his treadmill.  Levine says that he spends his entire workday at one mile an hour on his treadmill.  He has his computer set up in front of his treadmill. The keyboard and mouse were on an adjustable tray similar to what hospitals use to put meals on for their patients.  The monitor was stationed higher at about eye-level on a shelf.

Levine admits that genes have a lot to do with obesity, but he added that the genes have not changed much in the last 100 years.  He says that more people sit now, and that is why we are more obese.  According to Levine, if sitting is to blame, standing has got to be the solution. 


Dawn has taken those words of advice to heart. Since the study, she now stands while at work.  She has gotten a higher desk which forces her to stand and not sit.  This is a great way to increase her metabolism.   

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