Physical activity, total and regional obesity: dose-response considerations

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Abstract

Purpose:

This review was undertaken to determine whether exercise-induced weight loss was associated with corresponding reductions in total, abdominal, and visceral fat in a dose-response manner.

Methods:

A literature search (MEDLINE, 1966–2000) was performed using appropriate keywords to identify studies that consider the influence of exercise-induced weight loss on total and/or abdominal fat. The reference lists of those studies identified were cross-referenced for additional studies.

Results:

Total fat. Review of available evidence suggested that studies evaluating the utility of physical activity as a means of obesity reduction could be subdivided into two categories based on study duration. Short-term studies (≤16 wk, N = 20) were characterized by exercise programs that increased energy expenditure by values double (2200 vs 1100 kcal·wk-1) that of long-term studies (≥26 wk, N = 11). Accordingly, short-term studies report reductions in body weight (−0.18 vs −0.06 kg·wk-1) and total fat (−0.21 vs −0.06 kg·wk-1) that are threefold higher than those reported in long-term studies. Moreover, with respect to dose-response issues, the evidence from short-term studies suggest that exercise-induced weight loss is positively related to reductions in total fat in a dose-response manner. No such relationship was observed when the results from long-term studies were examined. Abdominal fat. Limited evidence suggests that exercise-induced weight loss is associated with reductions in abdominal obesity as measured by waist circumference or imaging methods; however, at present there is insufficient evidence to determine a dose-response relationship between physical activity, and abdominal or visceral fat.

Conclusion:

In response to well-controlled, short-term trials, increasing physical activity expressed as energy expended per week is positively related to reductions in total adiposity in a dose-response manner. Although physical activity is associated with reduction in abdominal and visceral fat, there is insufficient evidence to determine a dose-response relationship.

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