The Associated Press reported today: “People who exercise can add three years to their life, and their hearts reap benefits from something as simple as brisk walking a half-hour a day, two studies suggest.” The new findings echo research highlighted in our soon-to-be-published book, which will be the most thorough report available about the myths of obesity and health. One of the many points we make in the face of food police rhetoric: When it comes to health, fitness is more important than fatness.

The first study followed 4,121 people for four decades, and tracked participants by their activity level. According to the AP:

Life expectancy at age 50 for the medium activity group was 1.5 years longer than for the low activity group. The high activity group lived 3.5 years longer. The extra years were lived mostly free from heart disease.

The second study, meanwhile, followed 492 sedentary adults. It’s fairly unique in that it was conducted, as the AP reports, in “the real world where demands on people’s time and energy got in the way of their walking goals.” The key finding is that even moderate exercise levels had a significant, positive impact on health:

People who were supposed to walk 150 minutes a week actually were walking only 90 minutes a week — and still achieving health benefits.

As we will highlight in our forthcoming book, when it comes to health exercise is far more important than just a simple measure of weight. In fact, research suggests that 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. are premature due to physical inactivity. And according to one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the risk of death among the least fit is four times greater than it is among the most-fit.