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J Nutr Health Aging. 2012 Feb;16(2):169-74.

Basal growth hormone concentration increased following a weight loss focused dietary intervention in older overweight and obese women.

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Department Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7868, USA.



Growth and sex steroid hormones decrease with aging and obesity. The effect of dietary weight loss and exercise training lifestyle interventions was examined on hormones as well as determining their relationships with physical function in older obese and overweight adults.


Individuals were randomized into one of four 18 month interventions: Healthy Lifestyle (HL), Exercise, Diet, and Exercise-Diet.


Clinical research setting with facility based exercise and nutrition education and behavior classrooms.


Older (≥60 yrs) overweight and obese (BMI≥28 kg/m(2)) adults with knee osteoarthritis (n=309) were recruited for the study.


Weight loss goal for Diet groups was ≥5%. Exercise groups trained (mostly walking and resistance training) 3 days/week for 60 min/session.


Body weight, growth hormone (GH), corticosterone, sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were measured at baseline, 6, and 18 months. Physical function was determined through performance task (6-min walking distance) and self-reported questionnaires (Western Ontario McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index-WOMAC) at similar time points.


Diet, Exercise, and Exercise-Diet groups lost 4.9%, 3.5%, and 6.2% of their weight at 18 months, respectively. There was a significant diet treatment effect on GH levels in women as higher concentrations of this hormone were apparent following dietary weight loss intervention (p=0.01). No other hormones were affected by either diet or exercise treatments in men or women. A significant inverse correlation between baseline 6-minute walking distance and SHBG (r=-0.33) was found in men.


The increase in basal GH levels from the diet treatment in women suggests that this lifestyle behavior intervention may mitigate the age- and obesity-related decreases in growth hormone levels, to help preserve muscle mass, strength, and physical function in older adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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