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Compared with their physically active peers, overweight sedentary postmenopausal women demonstrate impaired vascular endothelial function (VEF), substantially increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Habitual exercise is associated with improved VEF and reduced CVD risk. The purpose of this study was to compare brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD), a measure of VEF, in overweight, postmenopausal women who were physically active (EX: n = 17, BMI: 29.3 ± 3.11 kg/m2) or sedentary (CON: n = 8, BMI: 30.3 ± 3.6 kg/m2). Anthropomorphic measures were similar in both groups (P > .05). FMD was significantly greater in EX (10.24 ± 2.36%) versus CON (6.60 ± 2.18%) (P < .002). FMD was not significantly correlated with estimated VO2max (EX: r = .17, P = .52; CON: r = .20, P = .60) but was negatively associated with percent body fat in EX group (EX: r = -.48, P = .05; CON: r = .41, P = .31). These results are consistent with the positive effects of habitual exercise on VEF in overweight postmenopausal women.

Sanders, Ballard, Creighton, Pryor, and Anderson are with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Maresh, Kraemer, and Volek are with the Department of Human Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Address author correspondence to Brent Creighton at brentcreighton@gmail.com.