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Keywords:

  • diet;
  • fat mass;
  • fat- and bone-free mass;
  • leg-extension strength;
  • maximal oxygen uptake

Abstract

Objective: To determine whether “low-intensity” exercise (walking) and “high-intensity” exercise (aerobic dance), when added to a weight loss diet, have different effects on coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors and physical fitness.

Research Methods and Procedures: Ninety obese women were divided into diet only (DO), diet plus walking (DW), and diet plus aerobic dance (DA) groups. DXA was used to evaluate segmental body composition. Leg-extension strength and maximal oxygen uptake (V̇o2max) were the indicators of physical fitness. Blood pressure, lipoproteins, and fasting glucose were used as indices for CHD risk factors. These items were measured before and after a 14-week intervention period.

Results: Whole-body plus all segmental fat masses were significantly reduced (p < 0.001). Reductions in whole-body and lower-limb fat- and bone-free masses were significantly less (p < 0.01) in the DA group (−1.5 and −0.1 kg, respectively) compared with the DO (−2.1 and −0.4 kg, respectively) and DW (−2.5 and −0.5 kg, respectively) groups. Improvements in leg-extension strength and V̇o2max were significantly greater (p < 0.05) in the DA group compared with the DO group. The CHD risk factors clearly improved (p < 0.05) within each group. Reductions in low density lipoprotein-cholesterol and fasting glucose were significantly greater (p < 0.05) in the DA group compared with the DO and DW groups.

Discussion: Adding higher intensity aerobic dance to a weight-loss diet program may help maintain fat- and bone-free mass and may be more effective in improving CHD risk factors compared with low-intensity walking.