Purpose: The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of 12-week walking exercise on abdominal fat, insulin resistance and serum cytokines in obese women.
Methods: Following baseline measurements, obese women (N = 20) who met obesity criterion of BMI at 25 kg/m(2) or greater were randomly assigned to the control (n = 10) or exercise groups (n = 10). Women assigned to the exercise group participated in a walking exercise (with an intensity of 50-60% of predetermined VO(2)max, a frequency of 3 days per week and duration of 50-70 minutes targeting 400 kcal of energy expenditure per session) for 12 weeks, while women assigned to the control group maintained their sedentary lifestyle. After the 12-week walking intervention, post-test measurements were conducted using the same procedure as the baseline measurement. Analyses of variance with repeated measures were used to evaluate any significant time by group interactions for the measured variables.
Results: With respect to body fat parameters, significant time-by-group interactions were found in the abdominal subcutaneous (p = < 0.001) and visceral adipose tissues (p = 0.011). The exercise group had significant reductions in both subcutaneous and visceral adiposity, and the control group had no significant changes in those parameters. Similarly, there were significant time by group interactions in fasting glucose (p = 0.008), HOMA-IR (p = 0.029), serum TNF-α (p = 0.027), and IL-6 (p = 0.048) such that the exercise group had significant reductions in those parameters, with no such significant changes found in the control group. The exercise group also had a significant increase in serum adiponectin (p = 0.002), whereas the control group had no significant change in the parameter.
Conclusion: In summary, the current findings suggest that walking exercise can provide a safe and effective lifestyle strategy against abdominal obesity and serum insulin resistance markers in obese women.
Keywords: Abdominal adiposity; insulin resistance index; serum cytokines.