Influence of diet and exercise on skeletal muscle and visceral adipose tissue in men

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1996 Dec;81(6):2445-55. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1996.81.6.2445.


The effects of diet only (DO) and diet combined with either aerobic (DA) or resistance (DR) exercise on subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), visceral adipose tissue (VAT), lean tissue (LT), and skeletal muscle (SM) tissue were evaluated in 33 obese men (DO, n = 11; DA, n = 11; DR, n = 11). All tissues were measured by using a whole body multislice magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) model. Within each group, significant reductions were observed for body weight, SAT, and VAT (P < 0.05). The reductions in body weight (approximately 10%) and SAT (approximately 25%) and VAT volume (approximately 35%) were not different between groups (P > 0.05). For all treatments, the relative reduction in VAT was greater than in SAT (P < 0.05). For the DA and DR groups only, the reduction in abdominal SAT (approximately 27%) was greater (P < 0.05) than that observed for the gluteal-femoral region (approximately 20%). Conversely, the reduction in VAT was uniform throughout the abdomen regardless of treatment (P > 0.05). MRI-LT and MRI-SM decreased both in the upper and lower body regions for the DO group alone (P < 0.05). Peak O2 uptake (liters) was significantly improved (approximately 14%) in the DA group as was muscular strength (approximately 20%) in the DR group (P < 0.01). These findings indicate that DA and DR result in a greater preservation of MRI-SM, mobilization of SAT from the abdominal region, by comparison with the gluteal-femoral region, and improved functional capacity when compared with DO in obese men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Diet*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Obesity / metabolism*