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Prev Med. 2007 May;44(5):377-85. Epub 2006 Dec 24.

The effect of walking on fitness, fatness and resting blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomised, controlled trials.

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Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute, School of Health Sciences, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Newtownabbey Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, BT37 0QB, UK.



The purpose of this review was to perform a meta-analysis on walking intervention studies in order to quantify the magnitude and direction of walking-induced changes that may alter selected cardiovascular risk factors.


Twenty-four randomised controlled trials of walking were assessed for quality on a three-point scale. Data from these studies were pooled and treatment effects (TEs) were calculated for six traditional cardiovascular risk variables: body weight, body mass index (BMI), percentage body fat, aerobic fitness (V(O(2) )max in ml kg(-1) min(-1)) and resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Weighted TEs were analysed using a random effects model with weights obtained using the inverse of the individual TE variances. Random effects models were used to investigate the influence of both study quality and exercise volume (<150 vs. > or =150 min week(-1)).


Random effects modelling showed that walking interventions increased V(O(2) )max and decreased body weight, BMI, percent body fat and resting diastolic blood pressure in previously sedentary adults (p<0.05 for all).


The results of this study provide evidence that healthy but sedentary individuals who take up a programme of regular brisk walking improves several known risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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