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Body composition, energy expenditure and physical activity

Exercise training and/or diet on reduction of intra-abdominal adipose tissue and risk factors for cardiovascular disease

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2018) | Download Citation



To test the effects of weight loss with and without exercise training (aerobic or resistance) on intra-abdominal adipose tissue (IAAT) and risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Additionally, CVD risk factors was evaluated before and after weight loss using previously established IAAT cut-points.


One hundred twenty-two overweight premenopausal women were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) diet only (Diet); (2) diet and aerobic training (Diet + AT); or (3) diet and resistance training (Diet + RT); until a BMI of < 25 kg/m2 was reached. Computerized tomography was used to measure IAAT and blood lipids were measured by assay. Evaluations were made before and after weight loss.


Though no group-by-time effects were found after weight loss, we observed significant time effects for: IAAT (−38.0%, P < 0.001), total cholesterol (TC) (−2.2%, P = 0.008), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (−4.8%, P < 0.001), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (+20.2%, P < 0.001), triglycerides (−18.7%, P < 0.001), TC/HDL-C (−16.3%, P < 0.001), and LDL-C/HDL-C (−18.0%, P < 0.001). Following weight loss, 40.2% of all participants reduced IAAT to < 40 cm2 (IAAT associated with low CVD risk). Furthermore, only 2.5% of participants had an IAAT > 110 cm2 (IAAT associated with high CVD risk) after weight loss. We also observed that decreases of IAAT were associated with decreased CVD risk factors after weight loss independent of race, changes in %fat mass and changes in maximal oxygen uptake.


Caloric restriction leading to significant weight loss with or without exercise training appears to be equally effective for reducing IAAT and CVD risk factors.

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This work was supported by the NIH grants R01 AG027084-01, R01 AG27084-S, R01 DK049779, P30 DK56336, P60 DK079626, UL 1RR025777. Clinical trial “Exercise training in obesity-prone Black and White women”, registration identification number NCT00067873. URL:

Author information


  1. Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA

    • Juliano H. Borges
    • , Stephen J. Carter
    • , David R. Bryan
    •  & Gary R. Hunter
  2. Growth and Development Laboratory, Center for Investigation in Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil

    • Juliano H. Borges


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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Juliano H. Borges.

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