JAN 06, 2016 1:54 PM PST

Exercise and Diet Interventions to Get Obese People Up and About

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Most people have heard that exercising is good for your health, but often times it is hard for people who need exercise the most to get up and about. However, in a new study scientists showed that they can improve the exercise experience of obese patients with heart failure by providing proper aerobic training and restricting their calorie intake.

A condition called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF) occurs when ventricles are not able to relax and refill with blood after the heart muscle contracts (American Heart Association). HFPEF is increasingly becoming the fastest growing form of heart failure, and patients are usually older women who are overweight or obese.

In a study of 100 obese participants with HFPEF and a mean age of 67 years, Dalane W. Kitzman, MD, and his team from the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina looked for ways to improve the exercise experience of these patients. Exercise is a reliable way to improve heart health, but exercise intolerance, the principal symptom for HFPEF patients, almost always prevents them from accessing the benefits from exercise. This study was published in the January 5 issue of JAMA.

The participants were split randomly into four groups:
  • 20 weeks of a calorie-restricted diet
  • 20 weeks of aerobic exercise training
  • 20 weeks of both diet and training
  • 20 weeks without changing lifestyle habits (control group)
At the end of the trial, Kitzman and his team quantified each groups’ success in reducing the severity of their heart failure by measuring exercise capacity and quality of life changes.

The group receiving both diet and exercise training saw the greatest percent change in body weight. The diet only group was the next successful, followed by the exercise only group and the control group, which only had a one percent change in body weight. There were no significant changes in quality of life for any of the groups.

Source: The Journal of the American Medical Association 
About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
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