A comparison of different exercise prescriptions combined with a low-fat ad libitum diet: Effects on weight loss, health-related variables and psychological well-being in premenopausal overweight women

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Exercise and Sport Sciences

First Committee Member

Arlette Perry - Committee Chair


The epidemic of obesity in this country coupled with the poor success rate of current treatment necessitates further research into treatment interventions. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of two different "metabolic fitness" exercise prescriptions, in combination with a low fat, ad libitum diet (LFAL) and compared to a diet only control group (DO) on: weight loss, health-related variables (HRV) and psychological well-being in overweight premenopausal women.A mixed racial sample of fifty-six subjects (mean BMI = 34.26 +/- 6.61, mean age = 39.45 +/- 7.34) completed the 12-week program which consisted of (a) participants walking 30-minutes, 5 days per week (EX1) or (b) participants walking 60-minutes, 5 times per week (EX2) or (c) a diet only control group (DO). All groups made similar and significant improvements in weight loss, several HRV, all measures of psychological well-being and several measures of nutrient intake. Significant interactions were observed for waist circumference (p = 0.0381), sagittal diameter ( p = 0.0155), estimated VO2max (p = 0.0135), and LDL-C (p = 0.0039) with EX1 and EX2 groups showing benefits above that of the control group. Furthermore, the EX2 group increased percent of total Calories from carbohydrate, increased dietary fiber intake and decreased percent of total Calories from fat to a greater extent (p < 0.05) than either the DO or EX1 groups.In summary, a LFAL diet either alone or in combination with walking exercise resulted in positive changes in body weight, body composition, blood pressure, blood lipids, dietary intake and psychological well-being. The EX1 and EX2 groups demonstrated similar and superior improvements in several additional HRV over and above that of diet alone. Thus walking 30 minutes 5 days per week was comparable to walking 60 minutes 5 days per week in providing beneficial changes in HRV. Dietary records however, indicated that the EX2 group reported a healthier nutrient intake pattern than either the EX1 or DO groups. Therefore the possibility exists that longer duration exercise combined with dietary intervention may confer greater long-term health and weight control benefits.


Women's Studies; Health Sciences, Nutrition; Psychology, Clinical; Education, Health; Psychology, Physiological

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