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Keywords:

  • cardiovascular disease;
  • ex-military personnel;
  • health;
  • physical fitness

Abstract

Objective: To measure the effect of a combined aerobic and resistance exercise program on key cardiovascular disease risk factors (i.e. body composition or anthropometry and cardiorespiratory function) of Australian male, Vietnam War veterans living in the tropics.

Design: Twelve-month exercise program with assessments at commencement, 3, 6 and 12 months.

Setting: North Queensland regional centre.

Participants: Australian male, Vietnam War veterans (n = 164) resident in north Queensland.

Main outcome measures: Measurement of heart rate, blood pressure, skinfold and girth measurements, exercise heart rate response and estimated aerobic capacity to determine whether the implementation of a simple aerobic and resistance exercise program could positively change selected cardiovascular disease risk factors in Vietnam Veterans.

Results: Significant improvements were reported for systolic blood pressure (131.1 (SD 15.7) reduced to 122.7 (12.4) mmHg), diastolic blood pressure (82.7 (9.1) reduced to 76.3 (10.3) mmHg), resting heart rate (73 (11) reduced to 69 (11) bpm), sum of skinfolds (127.5 (40.3) reduced to 99.5 (32.1) mm), waist girth (103.2 (12.0) reduced to 100.5 (12.1) cm), hip girth (105.3 (9.6) reduced to 103.7 (10.4) cm) and aerobic capacity (2.17 (0.39) increased to 2.36 (0.34) L min−1).

Conclusion: Participation in a combined aerobic and resistance training program elicited significant anthropometric and cardiorespiratory benefits that might lead to a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease for male Vietnam War veterans resident in rural and regional areas.