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Exercise training and blood lipids in hyperlipidemic and normolipidemic adults: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials

Abstract

Objective: To determine the effectiveness of exercise training (aerobic and resistance) in modifying blood lipids, and to determine the most effective training programme with regard to duration, intensity and frequency for optimizing the blood lipid profile.

Design: Trials were identified by a systematic search of Medline, Embase, Science Citation Index (SCI), published reviews and the references of relevant trials. The inclusion criteria were limited to randomized, controlled trials of aerobic and resistance exercise training which were conducted over a minimum of four weeks and involved measurement of one or more of the following: total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein (HDL-C), low density lipoprotein (LDL-C) and triglycerides (TG).

Subjects: A total of 31 trials (1833 hyperlipidemic and normolipidemic participants) were included.

Results: Aerobic exercise training resulted in small but statistically significant decreases of 0.10 mmol/L (95% CI: 0.02, 0.18), 0.10 (95% CI: 0.02, 0.19), 0.08 mmol/L (95% CI: 0.02, 0.14), for TC, LDL-C, and TG, respectively, with an increase in HDL-C of 0.05 mmol/L (95% CI: 0.02, 0.08). Comparisons between the intensities of the aerobic exercise programmes produced inconsistent results; but more frequent exercise did not appear to result in greater improvements to the lipid profile than exercise three times per week. The evidence for the effect of resistance exercise training was inconclusive.

Conclusions: Caution is required when drawing firm conclusions from this study given the significant heterogeneity with comparisons. However, the results appear to indicate that aerobic exercise training produced small but favourable modifications to blood lipids in previously sedentary adults.

Sponsorship: Public Health Research and Development Project Grant, National Health and Medical Research Council, Department of Health, Housing, Local Government and Community Services, 1995.

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Guarantor:Ms Julie Halbert

Contributorship: Ms Julie Halbert: protocol for meta-analysis, collection of publications for inclusion, data extraction, draft and corrections to manuscript, guarantor for content. Professor Chris Silagy: protocol for meta-analysis, supervision of Ms Julie Halbert, interpretation of results, development of Discussion section, manuscript editing. Professor Paul Finucane: protocol for meta-analysis, supervision of Ms Julie Halbert, interpretation of results, development of Discussion section, manuscript editing. Dr Robert Withers: protocol for meta-analysis, supervision of Ms Julie Halbert, interpretation of results, manuscript editing. Dr Phil Hamdorf: protocol for meta-analysis, manuscript editing.

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Correspondence to JA Halbert.

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Halbert, J., Silagy, C., Finucane, P. et al. Exercise training and blood lipids in hyperlipidemic and normolipidemic adults: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Eur J Clin Nutr 53, 514–522 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600784

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600784

Keywords

  • exercise
  • cholesterol
  • aerobic-training
  • resistance-training

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