Exercise is required for visceral fat loss in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Mar;90(3):1511-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2004-1782. Epub 2004 Dec 14.


This study examined the effects of aerobic exercise without weight loss, a hypocaloric high monounsaturated fat diet, and diet plus exercise (D+E) on total abdominal and visceral fat loss in obese postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes. Thirty-three postmenopausal women (body mass index, 34.6 +/- 1.9 kg/m(2)) were assigned to one of three interventions: a hypocaloric high monounsaturated fat diet alone, exercise alone (EX), and D+E for 14 wk. Aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal fat distribution (magnetic resonance imaging), glucose tolerance, and insulin sensitivity were measured pre- and postintervention. Body weight ( approximately 4.5 kg) and percent body fat ( approximately 5%) were decreased (P < 0.05) with the D and D+E intervention, whereas only percent body fat ( approximately 2.3%) decreased with EX. Total abdominal fat and sc adipose tissue (SAT) were reduced with the D and D+E interventions (P < 0.05), whereas visceral adipose tissue (VAT) decreased with the D+E and EX intervention, but not with the D intervention. EX resulted in a reduction in total abdominal fat, VAT, and SAT (P < 0.05) despite the lack of weight loss. The reductions in total abdominal fat and SAT explained 32.7% and 9.7%, respectively, of the variability in the changes in fasting glucose levels, whereas the reductions in VAT explained 15.9% of the changes in fasting insulin levels (P < 0.05). In conclusion, modest weight loss, through either D or D+E, resulted in similar improvements in total abdominal fat, SAT, and glycemic status in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes; however, the addition of exercise to diet is necessary for VAT loss. These data demonstrate the importance of exercise in the treatment of women with type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose
  • Body Composition
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Exercise*
  • Fasting
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipids / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause*
  • Viscera


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Insulin
  • Lipids