Exercise effects on lipids in persons with varying dietary patterns-does diet matter if they exercise? Responses in Studies of a Targeted Risk Reduction Intervention through Defined Exercise I

Am Heart J. 2012 Jul;164(1):117-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2012.04.014.


Background: The standard clinical approach for reducing cardiovascular disease risk due to dyslipidemia is to prescribe changes in diet and physical activity. The purpose of the current study was to determine if, across a range of dietary patterns, there were variable lipoprotein responses to an aerobic exercise training intervention.

Methods: Subjects were participants in the STRRIDE I, a supervised exercise program in sedentary, overweight subjects randomized to 6 months of inactivity or 1 of 3 aerobic exercise programs. To characterize diet patterns observed during the study, we calculated a modified z-score that included intakes of total fat, saturated fat, trans fatty acids, cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber as compared with the 2006 American Heart Association diet recommendations. Linear models were used to evaluate relationships between diet patterns and exercise effects on lipoproteins/lipids.

Results: Independent of diet, exercise had beneficial effects on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol particle number, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol size, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol size, and triglycerides (P < .05 for all). However, having a diet pattern that closely adhered to American Heart Association recommendations was not related to changes in these or any other serum lipids or lipoproteins in any of the exercise groups.

Conclusions: We found that even in sedentary individuals whose habitual diets vary in the extent of adherence to AHA dietary recommendations, a rigorous, supervised exercise intervention can achieve significant beneficial lipid effects.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Diet*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides