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Keywords:

  • obesity;
  • exercise;
  • adherence;
  • walking;
  • blood lipids;
  • cholesterol;
  • body fat;
  • overweight

Abstract

The beneficial effects of moderate-intensity exercise on cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition are well documented, with the greatest health benefits reported in sedentary individuals who engage in moderate levels of exercise. The published literature contains no quantification of the threshold of lower limits of beneficial exercise or estimates of benefits derived from lower exercise levels. The specific aim of this study was to compare the effects of two walking frequencies, holding intensity and duration constant, on blood lipids, body composition, and exercise maintenance regimens of Mexican American women. A quasi-experimental design, with two treatment groups and one comparison group, was used to explore the dose-response effects of low-intensity exercise on cardiovascular outcomes. Significant interactions were found between walking and total serum cholesterol and skin-fold sums. This study demonstrated the clinical efficacy of a low-intensity exercise regimen on cardiovascular risk factors and exercise adherence. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Res Nurs Health 24:390–401, 2001