Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate body composition and blood pressure (BP) responses to a 16-week dose of brisk walking in sedentary and obese African American (AA) and White women.
Methods: Seventy-five sedentary women (45 AA and 30 White) between the ages of 18 and 50 years and body fat > or =27% signed institutional approved informed consent forms and volunteered to participate in this study. The participants were divided into four groups (AA exercisers [AAE], AA control [AAC], White exercisers [WE], White controls [WC]). The exercisers walked three miles a day, three days a week. Body composition and BP were measured before and after the training intervention. Food records were collected before, during, and after the intervention.
Results: Following training, only the WE experienced a reduction in body weight and body fat (P<.05). However, the energy intake of the AAE increased 4.7% during and 16% at the conclusion of the intervention and contributed to them neither losing nor gaining weight or fat. Both exercise groups experienced reductions (P<.05) in systolic (AAE 5.7 mm Hg, WE 11.3 mm Hg) and diastolic BPs (AAE 3.0 mm Hg, WE 3.6 mm Hg) following training, but the reductions for the WE were greater (P<.05) than for the AAE. There were no changes in body composition or BP for either AAC or WC.
Conclusions: These results indicate that a 16-week walking intervention provides body composition and BP benefits for both AA and White women, but the benefits are greater for White women.