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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 the University of California in San Diego.

Wallace said this is the first study to examine the vascular effect of exercise in overweight men despite the growing belief among some health and fitness experts that active, overweight people might be healthier in some ways than lean, sedentary people. She said managing weight is still important because of the relationship between obesity and a host of diseases and conditions.

Co-authors of the study are Jaume Padilla, doctoral student in IU's Department of Kinesiology, Kevin P. Hanlon, an undergraduate student in the department, and Lawrence D. Rink, M.D., with Internal Medicine Associates in Bloomington.

The study was supported by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and a research grant in aid from the School of HPER. For a copy of the study, contact For additional assistance, contact Tracy James, 812-855-0084 and

Wallace can be reached at 812-855-6384 and Harris can be reached at 858-534-4713 and

"The Flow-mediated Dilation Response to Acute Exercise in Overweight Active and Inactive Men," Obesity, Jan. 2008, doi:10.1038/oby.2007.120.


A random telephone survey of Hoosier adults' opinions about whether the HPV vaccine should be mandatory for middle school students reveals an "ambivalence about sexuality in our culture," similar to debates surrounding contraception and sex education, said William L. Yarber, senior director of the Rural Center on AIDS/STD Prevention at Indiana University.

"Parents face a real dilemma. They want to protect their children, but they're fearful of the protective methods."

The study, which will be published in the winter "Health Education Monograph," found that survey respondents were three times as likely to oppose a mandatory vaccine if they also believed it would encourage youth to have sex.

RCAP is housed in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation's Department of Applied Health Science at IU Bloomington. Here are additional findings of the study, "Public Opinion in Indiana Regarding the Vaccination of Middle School Students for HPV," which involved phone surveys of 504 adults. The survey was conducted in 2005, just prior to the FDA approval of the HPV vaccine.

  • More than one third (35.5 percent) of respondents reported opposing a mandatory vaccine.

  • Almost a quarter (24.8 percent) of respondents reported favoring a mandatory vaccine for girls and boys (the vaccine is only approved for girls to date).

  • The remaining respondents were uncertain.

  • Survey respondents who had more than a high school education and were white were more likely to oppose the vaccine.

  • Background: The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a national study earlier in March stating that at least one in four teenage girls reported having an STD. Of the girls who reported having sex, an estimated 40 percent had an STD. The HPV vaccine Gardasil has been shown to prevent cervical cancer precursors caused by four types of human papillomavirus that are responsible for 70 percent of all cervical cancers and 90 percent of cases of genital warts. HPV also is thought to cause some oral cancers in men. While some states have proposed mandatory vaccines from school-age girls, the issue is controversial.

Yarber said sexual intercourse in the middle school years is considered too early from sexual health education and mental health perspectives. From a public health perspective, however, research has shown that some youth become sexually active following puberty, indicating a need to protect youth from the associated health risks, which can be serious.

Yarber said many sexuality professionals think the HPV vaccine will not encourage sex because of the many other factors that more strongly influence this decision, but he added that more research is needed in this area. Schools require various vaccines, Yarber said, but public opinion plays an important role in policy involving the HPV vaccine because it involves sex.

Co-authors of the study include lead author Robin Milhausen, RCAP and University of Guelph, Ontario; and Richard Crosby, RCAP, the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction and the College of Public Health at the University of Kentucky. Yarber also is a professor in the departments of Applied Health Science and Gender Studies and is a senior research fellow of the Kinsey Institute.

Yarber can be reached at 812-855-7974 and


Contact: Tracy James
Indiana University

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