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Abdominal Obesity Can Be Treated with Exercise

Mar 13, 2015
 

For patients who are obese and sedentary, any exercise can help trim abdominal fat, but it may take a bit more effort to get other health benefits…

Robert Ross, PhD, an exercise physiologist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, and colleagues recruited 300 people in their 40s and 50s who were abdominally obese and got little to no regular exercise. The authors then randomly assigned everyone to either a control group that remained sedentary, or one of three exercise groups.

All of the exercisers came to five supervised sessions a week, for 6 months. One group did a low amount of low-intensity activity (about a half-hour of slow walking); another group stuck with the low-intensity regimen, but for a longer period (averaging an hour per session); and a fourth got higher-intensity exercise — namely, faster-paced walking.
The researchers found that the fast walkers burned the same number of calories as their slower-paced peers who walked for an hour — but they did it in 40 minutes.

After 6 months, the investigators found, all three exercise groups had lost a small amount of weight and 1 or 2 inches from their waistlines, on average. But only the high-intensity group showed an improvement in blood glucose levels.

The people in this study were middle-aged, sedentary, and abdominally obese. Ross added that, we didn’t have them running. ‘High-intensity’ just meant walking briskly on a treadmill.”

The researchers concluded that, “Fixed amounts of exercise independent of exercise intensity resulted in similar reductions in abdominal obesity. Reduction in 2-hour glucose level was restricted to high-intensity exercise.”

Practice Pearls:

  • Any exercise can help trim abdominal fat.
  • After 6 months, the investigators found, all three exercise groups had lost a small amount of weight and 1 or 2 inches from their waistlines.
  • But only the high-intensity group showed an improvement in blood glucose levels.

Ross R et al. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(5):325-334