Effect of exercise training on long-term weight maintenance in weight-reduced men.

W.J. Pasman*, W.H.M. Saris, E. Muls, G. Vansant, M.S. Westerterp-Plantenga

*Corresponding author for this work

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Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

This study investigated whether endurance training is effective for successful long-term weight maintenance after weight reduction. Fifteen male obese subjects (age, 37.3+/-5.2 years; body weight [BW], 96.2+/-13.6 kg; body mass index [BMI], 30.9+/-2.8 kg x m(-2)) participated in a 16-month exercise-intervention study. During the first 4 months, all subjects trained three to four times weekly, consuming a very-low-energy diet (VLED) during the first 2 months. After the 4-month treatment period, seven subjects continued training for 12 months (3 to 4 times per week). The other eight subjects served as a control group not involved in a training program. The regain (increase during the intervention period as a percentage of the 4-month treatment) of BW at 16 months was 64% (+/-26%) for the whole group (trained v. control, 52%+/-28% v. 74%+/-20%, P = .09). The increase in absolute fat mass (FM) was significantly lower at 16 months for the trained group (trained v. control, 4.8+/-1.9 v. 9.0+/-3.3 kg), as was the regain of FM at 16 months (trained v. control, 61%+/-24% v. 92%+/-32%, P = .05). The amount of regain of the waist circumference, waist to hip ratio (WHR), and sagittal diameter were correlated with the amount of training (hours) performed weekly (deltawaist, r = -.55, P<.05; deltaWHR, r = -.50, P = .06; deltasagittal diameter, r = -.53, P<.05). Physical fitness parameters (maximal power output [Wmax] and oxygen uptake [Vo2 max]) were significantly increased in both groups at 4 months. Trained subjects maintained high levels of physical fitness at 16 months, in contrast to the control group. In conclusion, although BW regain was not significantly different between the groups, trained subjects showed less regain of FM and higher levels of physical fitness, factors related to a lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), compared with the control group. Furthermore, the regain of FM, which occurred even in the exercising group with a relatively intensive training program, suggests that maintenance of fat loss is extremely difficult.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalMetabolism-Clinical and Experimental
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


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