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Clinical Research

Effect of exercise intervention dosage on reducing visceral adipose tissue: a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

A Correction to this article was published on 28 January 2022

This article has been updated

Abstract

Background

Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) are deleterious fat deposits in the human body and can be effectively reduced by exercise intervention. Despite well-established exercise prescriptions are available, the effective dosage of exercise for reducing VAT requires verification.

Objectives

The aims of this systematic review and meta-analysis were to determine the most effective exercise dosage (modality, intensity, duration, and amount) for decreasing VAT.

Methods

Nine databases (EMBASE, Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trial, PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science, Airiti Library, and PerioPath) were systematically searched for randomized controlled trials that objectively assessed VAT. The arms of included studies covered with different exercise modalities and dosage. Relevant databases were searched through February 2020.

Results

Of the 34 studies (n = 1969) included in systematic review, 32 (n = 1905) were pooled for pairwise or network meta-analysis. The results indicated that high-intensity interval training (SMD −0.38, 95% CI −0.59 to −0.16) and aerobic exercise (SMD –0.29, 95% CI –0.42 to −0.15) of at least moderate intensity were beneficial for reducing VAT. By contrast, resistance exercise, aerobic exercise combined with resistance exercise, and sprint interval training had no significant effects. No difference in VAT reduction was observed between exercising more or less than 150 min per week. Meta-regression revealed that the effect of VAT reduction was not significantly influenced by an increase in the duration of or amount of exercise in an exercise program. The effective dosage of exercise for reducing VAT was three times per week for 12 to 16 weeks, while duration per session for aerobic exercise was 30–60 min, and either less than 30 min or 30–60 min of high-intensity interval training accomplished sufficient energy expenditure to impact VAT.

Conclusions

These results can inform exercise prescriptions given to the general population for improving health by reducing VAT.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all the authors who contributed to the work for their individual studies included in this pairwise and network meta-analysis study, particularly those who responded to our e-mail requesting the original statistical parameters.

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Chang, YH., Yang, HY. & Shun, SC. Effect of exercise intervention dosage on reducing visceral adipose tissue: a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Int J Obes 45, 982–997 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-021-00767-9

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