High-intensity interval training reduces abdominal fat mass in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes

Diabetes Metab. 2016 Dec;42(6):433-441. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2016.07.031. Epub 2016 Aug 24.


Aim: This study compared the effect of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) for 16 weeks on whole-body and abdominal fat mass (FM) in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Methods: Seventeen women (69±1 years; BMI: 31±1kg.m-2) were randomly assigned to either a HIIT [60×(8s at 77-85% HRmax, 12s of active recovery)] or MICT (40min at 55-60% of their individual HRR) cycling program for 16 weeks, 2 days/week. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to measure whole-body and regional FM content, including abdominal adiposity and visceral adipose tissue. Plasma cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, glucose and HbA1c levels were measured. Levels of nutritional intake and physical activity were evaluated by 7-day self-reports.

Results: Dietary energy (caloric) intake, physical activity level and total body mass did not vary in either group from the beginning to the end of the training intervention. Overall, total FM decreased and total fat-free mass significantly increased over time (by around 2-3%). Total FM reduction at the end of the intervention was not significantly different between groups. However, significant loss of total abdominal (-8.3±2.2%) and visceral (-24.2±7.7%) FM was observed only with HIIT. Time effects were noted for HbA1c and total cholesterol/HDL ratio.

Conclusion: With no concomitant caloric restriction, an HIIT program in postmenopausal women with T2D (twice a week for 16 weeks) appeared to be more effective for reducing central obesity than MICT, and could be proposed as an alternative exercise training program for this population.

Keywords: Body composition; Health; Menopause; Physical activity; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / physiology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Interval Training*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / physiology*