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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Nov 15;305(10):E1222-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00285.2013. Epub 2013 Sep 17.

Aerobic exercise but not resistance exercise reduces intrahepatic lipid content and visceral fat and improves insulin sensitivity in obese adolescent girls: a randomized controlled trial.

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Division of Weight Management and Wellness and.


It is unclear whether regular exercise alone (no caloric restriction) is a useful strategy to reduce adiposity and obesity-related metabolic risk factors in obese girls. We examined the effects of aerobic (AE) vs. resistance exercise (RE) alone on visceral adipose tissue (VAT), intrahepatic lipid, and insulin sensitivity in obese girls. Forty-four obese adolescent girls (BMI ≥95th percentile, 12-18 yr) with abdominal obesity (waist circumference 106.5 ± 11.1 cm) were randomized to 3 mo of 180 min/wk AE (n = 16) or RE (n = 16) or a nonexercising control group (n = 12). Total fat and VAT were assessed by MRI and intrahepatic lipid by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Intermuscular AT (IMAT) was measured by CT. Insulin sensitivity was evaluated by a 3-h hyperinsulinemic (80 mU·m(2)·min(-1)) euglycemic clamp. Compared with controls (0.13 ± 1.10 kg), body weight did not change (P > 0.1) in the AE (-1.31 ± 1.43 kg) and RE (-0.31 ± 1.38 kg) groups. Despite the absence of weight loss, total body fat (%) and IMAT decreased (P < 0.05) in both exercise groups compared with control. Compared with control, significant (P < 0.05) reductions in VAT (Δ-15.68 ± 7.64 cm(2)) and intrahepatic lipid (Δ-1.70 ± 0.74%) and improvement in insulin sensitivity (Δ0.92 ± 0.27 mg·kg(-1)·min(-1) per μU/ml) were observed in the AE group but not the RE group. Improvements in insulin sensitivity in the AE group were associated with the reductions in total AT mass (r = -0.65, P = 0.02). In obese adolescent girls, AE but not RE is effective in reducing liver fat and visceral adiposity and improving insulin sensitivity independent of weight loss or calorie restriction.


adolescents; exercise; insulin sensitivity; intrahepatic lipid; visceral fat

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