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Mary Yoke

Objective:

Physical inactivity, overweight, and obesity are endemic in the United States and in the developed world, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. More information is needed regarding the physical activity beliefs, attitudes, barriers, and perceived self-control among those who are sedentary and weight-challenged. The purpose of this study was to elicit physical activity beliefs about feasibility, pleasure, and movement descriptions from sedentary, middle-aged, overweight women.

Methods:

Open-ended questions were used throughout individual interviews with 23 participants (age: M = 52.0, SD = 7.3; BMI: M = 34.2, SD = 9.79); attitudes and beliefs regarding physical activity and movement descriptions were documented. Participants were divided into those who were completely sedentary (12 women) and those who regularly engaged in physical activity (11 women).

Results:

A content analysis revealed that sedentary women were less active and had more perceived barriers to physical activity than active women. The most frequently cited perceived barriers were injuries, caregiving responsibilities, time, age, dislike of sweating, and depression. Sedentary women were less likely to report physical activity as pleasurable; they were also more likely to cite having an exercise buddy as an optimal activity situation. The most frequently cited pleasurable activities in both groups were yoga, movement to music, stretching, and walking.

Conclusions:

This study provided evidence that perceived barriers to physical activity must be addressed, that low-intensity programs are needed and desired by overweight and sedentary women, and that movement activities must be found that are enjoyable for the target population.

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Melanie M. Adams and Diane L. Gill

Even with adequate levels of physical activity, sedentary behavior contributes to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Reducing sedentary behavior through increased daily movements, not solely exercise, can reduce health risks; particularly for women who are inactive and overweight. This study examined an intervention to increase overweight women’s self-efficacy for reducing sedentary behavior. Volunteers (M age =58.5 yrs, M BMI =36) were waitlisted (n = 24) or enrolled in the intervention (n = 40), called On Our Feet, which combined face-to-face sessions and e-mail messages over 6 weeks. Physical activity and sedentary behavior were measured by accelerometer and self-report. A 4-item survey assessed self-efficacy. Process evaluations included participant ratings of intervention components and open-ended questions. Repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed no changes in accelerometer-determined physical activity or sedentary behavior, but a significant multivariate interaction was found for self-reported sitting and physical activity, F(3,60) = 3.65, p = .02. Intervention participants increased both light and moderate physical activity and both groups decreased sedentary behavior. Self-efficacy decreased for all at midpoint, but intervention recipients rebounded at post. A moderately strong relationship (r = .48, p = .01) between midpoint self-efficacy and reduced sedentary behavior was found. Participants rated the pedometer, intervention emails, and goal setting as effective and highly used. Open-ended responses pointed to barriers of required sitting and a need to match intervention components to women’s lives. Community-based interventions for reducing sedentary behavior have the potential to improve health. Ideas to enhance future interventions are discussed.

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Meghan H. McDonough, Catherine M. Sabiston, Whitney A. Sedgwick and Peter R.E. Crocker

Physical and psychosocial health risks are associated with both excess body weight and a sedentary lifestyle (National Institutes of Health [NIH], 1998). However, few researchers have focused on behavioral and motivational processes associated with exercise adoption and maintenance among overweight women. This study examined the efficacy of a team-based physical activity intervention on motivation and activity from a self-determination theory perspective. Overweight, inactive women (N=66) were randomly assigned to either a 12-week dragon boat program or a control condition. Participation in the dragon boat exercise was associated with increased intrinsic motivation and physical activity. Based on these data, the researchers suggest that this novel, team-based exercise intervention may improve motivation and activity levels in this at-risk population.

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Anthony Musto, Kevin Jacobs, Mark Nash, Gianluca DelRossi and Arlette Perry

Background:

Pedometer programs can increase physical activity in sedentary individuals, a population that is at risk for developing metabolic syndrome and each of its individual components. Although the popular 10,000 steps/day recommendation has shown to induce many favorable health benefits, it may be out of reach for sedentary individuals. This study observed the effects of incremental increases in steps/day on metabolic syndrome components in sedentary overweight women.

Methods:

This study was a longitudinal, quasiexperimental design. Participants were recruited from a 12-week work-site pedometer program and grouped as either ‘active’ or ‘control’ after the intervention based on their steps/day improvement. Self-reported physical activity, pedometer assessed physical activity, BMI, resting heart rate, waist circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides, HDLC, and fasting glucose were measured before and after the program.

Results:

The active group showed significant within-group improvements in waist circumference and fasting glucose. Significant group differences were observed in resting heart rate, BMI, and systolic blood pressure; however, the changes observed in systolic blood pressure were not independent of weight loss.

Conclusions:

Incremental increases in steps/day induced favorable changes in some MetS components suggesting that this approach is a viable starting point for sedentary individuals that may find it difficult to initially accumulate 10,000 steps/day.

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Maxwell Ruby, Chris P. Repka and Paul J. Arciero

Background:

Yoga/Stretching (YS) and functional resistance (FR) training are popular exercise routines. A protein-pacing (PP) diet is a common dietary regimen. Thus, we assessed the effectiveness of a PP diet alone and in combination with either YS or FR to improve body composition and cardiometabolic health.

Methods:

Twenty-seven overweight women (age = 43.2 ± 4.6 years) were randomized into 3 groups: yoga (YS, n = 8) or resistance (FR, n = 10) training (3 days/week) in conjunction with PP diet (50% carbohydrate, 25% protein, and 25% fat) or PP diet-only (PP, n = 9) throughout 12-week study. PP maintained preexisting levels of physical activity. Body weight (BW), total (BF) and abdominal (ABF) body fat, waist circumference (WC), plasma biomarkers, and aerobic fitness (VO2) were measured at baseline and 12 weeks.

Results:

WC and total cholesterol improved in all groups, whereas glycemia tended to improve (P = .06) in S. BF, ABF, and VO2 increased significantly in YS and FR (P < .05). Feelings of vigor increased in YS and tension decreased in FR (P < .05).

Conclusions:

YS training tended to decrease blood glucose compared with FR and PP and is equally effective at enhancing body composition, and aerobic fitness in overweight women providing a strong rationale for further research on YS training.

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Eirini Manthou, Jason M.R. Gill and Dalia Malkova

Background:

This study investigated health-related effects of exercise programs with exercise sessions of similar intensity but different frequency and duration.

Methods:

Thirty-four overweight women were randomized into either long-bout (LB) or short-bout (SB) exercise groups. Participants performed an 8-week supervised program, with the LB group exercising for 75 minutes twice per week, and the SB group for 30 minutes on 5 days of the week.

Results:

The LB group completed 16 sessions at a heart rate (HR) of 127 ± 1 beat·min−1 and the SB group completed 40 sessions at a HR of 126 ± 1 beat·min−1. Weekly energy expenditure of exercise was not different between groups (LB group, 5.64 ± 0.34 MJ; SB group, 5.83 ± 0.23 MJ). Training significantly (P < .05) increased measures of cardiorespiratory fitness, decreased waist circumference, insulin resistance, and diastolic blood pressure. The group × time interaction was not significant for any of these factors, indicating that responses to exercise training did not differ between the SB and LB groups.

Conclusions:

Health-related outcomes of exercise programs with similar energy expenditure are independent of frequency and duration of exercise sessions. This provides individuals with a degree of flexibility in exercise program planning.

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Rudolph G. Villani, Jenelle Gannon, Megan Self and Peter A. Rich

L-Carnitine (L-C) transports fatty acids into mitochondria for oxidation and is marketed as a weight loss supplement. In a double-blind investigation to test the weight loss efficacy of L-C, 36 moderately overweight premenopausal women were pair matched on Body Mass Index (BMI) and randomly assigned to two groups (N = 18). For 8 weeks the L-C group ingested 2 g twice daily of L-C, while the placebo (P) group ingested the same amount of lactose. All subjects walked for 30 min (60—70% maximum heart rate) 4 days/ week. Body composition, resting energy expenditure (REE) and substrate utilization were estimated before and after treatment. For the subjects who completed the study (15 P, 13 L-C), no significant changes in mean total body mass (TBM), fat mass FM, and resting lipid utilization occurred over time, nor were there any significant differences between groups for any variable. Conversely REE increased significantly for all subjects, but no between group differences existed. Five of the L-C group experienced nausea or diarrhea and consequently did not complete the study. Eight weeks of L-C ingestion and walking did not significantly alter the TBM or FM of overweight women, thereby casting doubt on the efficacy of L-C supplementation for weight loss.

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Kate Sanders, Carl M. Maresh, Kevin D. Ballard, Brent C. Creighton, J. Luke Pryor, William J. Kraemer, Jeff S. Volek and Jeff M. Anderson

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.

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Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Richard F. MacLehose, Allison W. Watts, Marla E. Eisenberg, Melissa N. Laska and Nicole Larson

to promote weight management and evaluating the impact of such interventions in young adults in the general population. Findings from this study indicate that most young adult women have tried yoga; approximately one-half of overweight women and two-thirds of nonoverweight women have done yoga at

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Danielle Symons Downs, Krista S. Leonard, Jessica S. Beiler and Ian M. Paul

, overweight-within women had significantly less strenuous EX minutes than normal-within, normal-above, and overweight-above women. Also, at 6 months postpartum, normal-weight women with GWG within and above the guidelines had significantly higher strenuous EX minutes than overweight women within and above the