The purpose of this study is to examine the changes in body fat mass of previously sedentary, deconditioned subjects who began following the U.S. Surgeon General's recommendation in frequency of exercise. Ninety subjects of both sexes were recruited; ages ranged from 22 to 74 (mean 37.5 +/- 13) years. Subjects were prescribed exercise of 4 times a week, 30 minutes of continuous exercise, for 8 weeks. Eighty subjects completed the 8-week study and were categorized based on voluntary compliance: control (no exercise); exercise less than 2 times/week; exercise 3 to 4 times/week; exercise 4 or more times/week. Body fat mass was the dependent variable in this study, as measured by air displacement plethysmography, and data analysis was accomplished with a repeated measures analysis of variance. There was a significant change in body fat mass in this study, but the only significant difference between groups was for the group that exercised 4 or more times/week, (p = 0.004). Adherence to the U.S. Surgeon General's Guidelines for frequency of exercising 4 times per week for 30 minutes was effective in reducing subjects' body fat mass in this study.