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Indexed/Abstracted in: Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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Blake A., Miller W. C., Brown D. A.
From the Exercise Science Programs The George Washington University Medical Center Washington DC, USA
Background. This study examined how sedentary obese (OB) and normal weight (NW) women respond to exercise training; and if fitness levels of the OB and NW are comparable, in spite of differences in adiposity.
Methods. Sedentary OB (n=46, 48.5±1.5 yrs, BMI=35.9±0.8; mean±SEM) and NW (n=43, 48.3±1.7 yrs, BMI=21.7±0.2) women participated in a 14-week fitness program.
Results. There were no group differences in exercise adherence. No changes for either group were found for body weight or composition. Both groups improved similarly in aerobic fitness (V.O2max), muscular strength (grip strength), muscular endurance (modified push-up), and flexibility (sit and reach). However, since norms for fitness are generally expressed relative to body weight (e.g. V.O2max, ml.kg-1.min-1; grip strength ratios), the OB women continued to be classified as unfit after exercise training, and categorized below the NW women in spite of having absolute scores for V.O2max (OB=2.1±0.1, NW=1.8±0.1 l.min-1) and grip strength (OB=65.1±1.5, NW= 58.6±1.5 kg) that were higher than the NW women.
Conclusions. The data suggest that OB women respond in a similar manner as NW women to exercise; that weight loss is not necessary for improved fitness; and that the OB are not less fit than the NW, but that low fitness scores for the OB are simply a reflection of the absolute scores being deflated because they are proportioned to body weight.