Objective: This study investigated whether fitness changes resulting from lifestyle interventions for weight loss may independently contribute to the improvement of low adiponectin levels in obese individuals with diabetes.
Research design and methods: Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) randomized overweight/obese individuals with type 2 diabetes to intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) for weight loss or to diabetes support and education (DSE). Total and high-molecular weight adiponectin (adiponectins), weight, and cardiorespiratory fitness (submaximal exercise stress test) were measured in 1,397 participants at baseline and at 1 year, when ILI was most intense. Regression analyses examined the associations of 1-year weight and fitness changes with change in adiponectins.
Results: ILI resulted in greater improvements in weight, fitness, and adiponectins at 1 year compared with DSE (P < 0.0001). Weight loss and improved fitness were each associated with changes in adiponectins in men and women (P < 0.001 for all), after adjusting for baseline adiponectins, demographics, clinical variables, and treatment arm. Weight loss contributed an additional 4-5% to the variance of change in adiponectins than did increased fitness in men; in women, the contributions of improved fitness (1% greater) and of weight loss were similar. When weight and fitness changes were both accounted for, weight loss in men and increased fitness in women retained their strong associations (P < 0.0001) with adiponectin change.
Conclusions: Improvements in fitness and weight with ILI were favorably but distinctly associated with changes in adiponectin levels in overweight/obese men and women with diabetes. Future studies need to investigate whether sex-specific biological determinants contribute to the observed associations.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00017953.
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