Effects of HIIT and MICT on cardiovascular risk factors in adults with overweight and/or obesity: A meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2019 Jan 28;14(1):e0210644. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210644. eCollection 2019.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in adults with overweight and obesity.

Methods: Twenty-two articles were included by searching six databases, the total number of subjects was 620 in these articles. Outcomes were synthesised using a random-effects meta-analysis of the Standardized mean difference (SMD) in CVD risk factors.

Results: HIIT and MICT resulted in statistically significant reductions in Weight, BMI, fat%, total cholesterol(TC), and improvement in VO2max. Compared with MICT, subgroup of durations of HIIT training interval ≥2 min can significantly increase VO2max (SMD = 0.444, 95% CI:0.037~0.851,P = 0.032), subgroup of energy expenditure of HIIT equal to MICT can significantly increase VO2max (SMD = 0.399, 95% CI:0.106~0.692,P = 0.008).

Conclusions: HIIT appears to provide similar benefits to MICT for improving body composition, VO2maxand TC, but HIIT spent less time than MICT by 9.7 min on one session. HIIT is superior to MICT in improving cardiopulmonary fitness when durations of HIIT training interval ≥2 min or energy expenditure of HIIT same as MICT. PROSPERO ID: CRD42016045835.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Interval Training / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / methods*
  • Risk Factors

Grants and funding

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81703252, to MingHui Quan).