For decades Americans have been growing heavier, with more than 40 percent of U.S. adults now considered obese. Yet while excess weight is associated with a range of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease, “traditional approaches to managing obesity—telling people to eat less, move more and lose weight—have not been working,” says UVA assistant professor of kinesiology Siddhartha Angadi. Noting the range of factors that make weight loss difficult, and the health risks associated with yo-yo dieting, Angadi and colleague Glenn Gaesser of Arizona State University make the case in a recent publication for a “weight-neutral strategy for obesity treatment” that focuses on fitness rather than weight loss for improving health. To support their argument, the researchers conducted an extensive review of studies examining the health outcomes, including mortality risk, from weight loss or improved fitness. “We found that fitness had a much larger impact and that the improvements you got from being fitter far outshadowed the improvements from weight loss,” Angadi says. “Scale is not a good arbiter of health.”