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IU Health & Wellness: Research and insights from Indiana University
Date:3/18/2008

OVERWEIGHT BUT ACTIVE -- VASCULAR BENEFITS FROM EXERCISE

Overweight but active men responded dramatically better compared to their inactive counterparts in a first-of-its kind study from Indiana University that examined the vascular response to exercise in overweight men.

Vascular function is important because of its relationship to cardiovascular disease.

The active cohort saw an average 24 percent improvement in their vascular function, compared to the 32 percent decrease observed in the inactive group. The results were published in the journal "Obesity."

"This overweight-obesity phenomenon is an epidemic in today's society," said Ryan A. Harris, who led the study while a doctoral student in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation's Department of Kinesiology. "This study supports that being consistent with daily physical activity is beneficial to cardiovascular health. Being active may not drop the pounds as quickly as you'd like, but it still is beneficial."

Obesity contributes to a variety of diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.

"But being overweight isn't hopeless," said Janet P. Wallace, professor of exercise physiology in the Department of Kinesiology. "This study shows you can still do some measures to help yourself while you work to lose weight."

The study involved 16 overweight men ages 46-68. Half were active, performing at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days. For the study, they performed low, moderate or high intensity treadmill walking for 45 minutes. The researchers examined the brachial artery flow-mediated dilation -- how well the artery can expand to accommodate an increase in blood flow. The brachial artery was examined because it has been related to coronary function. The beneficial effect observed in the active group lasted for about an hour, said Harris, now a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Medicine at th
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Contact: Tracy James
traljame@indiana.edu
812-855-0084
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

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