Exercise facilitates weight control, partly through effects on appetite regulation. Single bouts of exercise induce a short-term energy deficit without stimulating compensatory effects on appetite, whilst limited evidence suggests that exercise training may modify subjective and homeostatic mediators of appetite in directions associated with enhanced meal-induced satiety. However, a large variability in responses exists between individuals. This article reviews the evidence relating to how adiposity, sex, and habitual physical activity modulate exercise-induced appetite, energy intake, and appetite-related hormone responses. The balance of evidence suggests that adiposity and sex do not modify appetite or energy intake responses to acute or chronic exercise interventions, but individuals with higher habitual physical activity levels may better adjust energy intake in response to energy balance perturbations. The effect of these individual characteristics and behaviours on appetite-related hormone responses to exercise remains equivocal. These findings support the continued promotion of exercise as a strategy for inducing short-term energy deficits irrespective of adiposity and sex, as well as the ability of exercise to positively influence energy balance over the longer term. Future well-controlled studies are required to further ascertain the potential mediators of appetite responses to exercise.
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