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Beneficial effects of exercise : shifting the focus from body weight to other markers of health

King, Neil A., Hopkins, Mark, Caudwell, Phillipa, Stubbs, R. James, & Blundell, John E. (2009) Beneficial effects of exercise : shifting the focus from body weight to other markers of health. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 43(12), pp. 924-927.

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Abstract

Background: Exercise is widely promoted as a method of weight management, while the other health benefits are often ignored. The purpose of this study was to examine whether exercise-induced improvements in health are influenced by changes in body weight.

Methods: Fifty-eight sedentary overweight/obese men and women (BMI 31.8 (SD 4.5) kg/m2) participated in a 12-week supervised aerobic exercise intervention (70% heart rate max, five times a week, 500 kcal per session). Body composition, anthropometric parameters, aerobic capacity, blood pressure and acute psychological response to exercise were measured at weeks 0 and 12.

Results: The mean reduction in body weight was −3.3 (3.63) kg (p<0.01). However, 26 of the 58 participants failed to attain the predicted weight loss estimated from individuals’ exercise-induced energy expenditure. Their mean weight loss was only −0.9 (1.8) kg (p<0.01). Despite attaining a lower-than-predicted weight reduction, these individuals experienced significant increases in aerobic capacity (6.3 (6.0) ml/kg/min; p<0.01), and a decreased systolic (−6.00 (11.5) mm Hg; p<0.05) and diastolic blood pressure (−3.9 (5.8) mm Hg; p<0.01), waist circumference (−3.7 (2.7) cm; p<0.01) and resting heart rate (−4.8 (8.9) bpm, p<0.001). In addition, these individuals experienced an acute exercise-induced increase in positive mood.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that significant and meaningful health benefits can be achieved even in the presence of lower-than-expected exercise-induced weight loss. A less successful reduction in body weight does not undermine the beneficial effects of aerobic exercise. From a public health perspective, exercise should be encouraged and the emphasis on weight loss reduced.

Impact and interest:

37 citations in Scopus
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24 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 29542
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Full text versions are available online via the additional URLs.
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Keywords: Exercise, Obesity, Health, Body Composition
DOI: 10.1136/bjsm.2009.065557
ISSN: 0306-3674
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Preventive Medicine (111716)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified (110699)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Deposited On: 21 Jan 2010 15:02
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:03

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