According to a new study, reducing just 200 calories a day with moderate exercise brought greater benefits to older, obese adults than exercise alone. In older obese adults, the combination of aerobic exercise with a moderate reduction in daily caloric intake resulted in greater improvements in aortic stiffness (a measure of vascular health that affects cardiovascular disease) compared to exercise alone or Exercise Plus a more restrictive diet.
The results of the study were published in the journal “Circulation”. Modifiable lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet and regular physical activity can help offset the age-related increase in aortic stiffness. Although aerobic exercise generally has beneficial effects on aortic structure and function, previous studies have shown that exercise alone may not be enough to improve aortic rigidity in older adults with obesity.
“This is the first study to examine the effects of aerobic exercise, with and without calorie restriction, on aortic stiffness, measured using cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) to obtain detailed images of the aorta,” said Tina E. Brinkley, PhD, lead author of the study and Associate Professor of Gerontology and Aging Medicine at the Sticht Center for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “We wanted to see if additional calorie restriction for weight loss would result in greater improvements in vascular health compared to aerobic exercise alone in older adults with obesity,” added Brinkley.
This randomized controlled trial included 160 sedentary adults aged 65-79 years with obesity (BMI = 30-45 kg / m2). The average age of the participants was 69 years; 74 percent were female and 73 percent were white. The participants were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups for 20 weeks: 1) exercise only with their regular diet, 2) exercise plus moderate calorie restriction (reduction of approx. 250 calories / day) or 3) exercise plus more intensive calorie restriction (reduction of approx. 600 calories / day).
The two reduced-calorie groups received pre-made lunches and dinners with less than 30 percent calories from fat and at least 0.8 grams of protein per kg of their ideal body weight, prepared under the guidance of a registered nutritionist for the study; They made their own breakfast from the dietician-approved menu. All study participants received supervised aerobic exercise four days a week during the 20-week study at the Geriatric Research Center of the Wake Forest School of Medicine.
The structure and function of the aorta were assessed using cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging to measure the aortic arch pulse wave velocity (PWV) (the speed at which blood flows through the aorta) and the expandability, or ability of the aorta to expand and contract. Higher PWV values and lower extensibility values indicate a stiffer aorta. The results showed that a weight loss of nearly 10% of total body weight, or about 20 pounds, over the five-month study period was associated with a significant improvement in aortic stiffness – only among participants assigned to the athletic plus moderate calorie restriction group. Additional findings are:
1. The exercise plus moderate calorie restriction group had a 21 percent increase in stretchability and an 8 percent decrease in PWV. 2. None of the measurements of aortic stiffness changed significantly, neither in the group with exercise only nor in the group with more intensive calorie restriction.
3. The changes in BMI, total fat mass, percentage of body fat, abdominal fat and waist circumference were greater in both calorie-reduced groups than in the pure training group. 4. Weight loss was similar between the calorie restricted groups, despite almost twice fewer calories (26.7 percent calorie reduction vs. 14.2 percent calorie reduction) in the high calorie restriction group.
“Our results show that lifestyle changes aimed at increasing aerobic activity and moderately reducing daily caloric intake can help reduce aortic stiffness and improve overall vascular health,” said Brinkley. “We were surprised, however, that the group that cut their caloric intake the most showed no improvement in aortic stiffness, even though they had similar decreases in body weight and blood pressure as the moderately restricted group,” added Brinkley.
Brinkley said, “These results suggest that combining exercise with moderate calorie restriction – as opposed to more intense calorie restriction or calorie-free restriction – is likely to maximize vascular health benefits while optimizing weight loss and improving body fat distribution “The realization that higher-intensity calorie cuts may not be necessary or advisable has important implications for weight loss recommendations to improve the risk of cardiovascular disease in older adults with obesity,” concluded Brinkley. ANI)
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)