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J Gerontol. 1992 Jul;47(4):M99-105.

Exercise training improves fat distribution patterns in 60- to 70-year-old men and women.

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  • 1Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.


Changes in body composition and fat distribution in response to endurance exercise training were compared in 47 men and 46 women, aged 60 to 70 yr. Body composition was assessed by hydrodensitometry and fat distribution was evaluated with skinfold thickness and circumference measures. The 9- to 12-mo exercise program consisted primarily of walking and/or jogging for 46 +/- 5 min.d-1, 4.0 +/- 0.6 d.wk-1, at 80 +/- 5% of maximal heart rate. Although men lost more weight during the exercise program than women (men, -3.4 +/- 4.4 kg; women, -1.6 +/- 3.8 kg), relative changes were not significantly different, averaging -3.7 +/- 4.1% and -2.7 +/- 2.9% of body weight in men and women, respectively. The changes in body weight reflected fat loss, as fat-free mass did not change. The reductions in skinfold thickness and circumferences were similar in men and women, and in both groups the largest absolute and relative changes occurred in the truncal area, indicating a preferential loss of fat from the central regions of the body. The results of this study indicate that endurance exercise training can favorably modify the abdominal fat distribution profile that is typical of older men and women in the United States and thus, perhaps, reduce the risk of the diseases associated with abdominal obesity.

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