Effect of diet and exercise, alone or combined, on weight and body composition in overweight-to-obese postmenopausal women.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), Volume 20, Issue 8, p.1628-38 (2012)


2012, Center-Authored Paper, Nutrition Assessment Core Facility, Prevention Center Core Facility, Public Health Sciences Division, September 2012, Shared Resources


Lifestyle interventions for weight loss are the cornerstone of obesity therapy, yet their optimal design is debated. This is particularly true for postmenopausal women; a population with a high prevalence of obesity yet toward whom fewer studies are targeted. We conducted a year-long, 4-arm randomized trial among 439 overweight-to-obese postmenopausal sedentary women to determine the effects of a calorie-reduced, low-fat diet (D), a moderate-intensity, facility-based aerobic exercise program (E), or the combination of both interventions (D+E), vs. a no-lifestyle-change control (C) on change in body weight and composition. The group-based dietary intervention had a weight-reduction goal of ≥10%, and the exercise intervention consisted of a gradual escalation to 45-min aerobic exercise 5 day/week. Participants were predominantly non-Hispanic whites (85%) with a mean age of 58.0 ± 5.0 years, a mean BMI of 30.9 ± 4.0 kg/m(2) and an average of 47.8 ± 4.4% body fat. Baseline and 12-month weight and adiposity measures were obtained by staff blinded to participants' intervention assignment. Three hundred and ninety nine women completed the trial (91% retention). Using an intention-to-treat analysis, average weight loss at 12 months was -8.5% for the D group (P < 0.0001 vs. C), -2.4% for the E group (P = 0.03 vs. C), and -10.8% for the D+E group (P < 0.0001 vs. C), whereas the C group experienced a nonsignificant -0.8% decrease. BMI, waist circumference, and % body fat were also similarly reduced. Among postmenopausal women, lifestyle-change involving diet, exercise, or both combined over 1 year improves body weight and adiposity, with the greatest change arising from the combined intervention.