Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Effects of weight management by exercise modes on markers of subclinical atherosclerosis and cardiometabolic profile among women with abdominal obesity: a randomized controlled trial

Jina Choo1*, Juneyoung Lee2, Jeong-Hyun Cho1, Lora E Burke3, Akira Sekikawa4 and Sae Young Jae5

Author Affiliations

1 College of Nursing, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea

2 Department of Biostatistics, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea

3 School of Nursing and Epidemiology and Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

4 Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

5 College of Arts and Physical Education, University of Seoul, Seoul, South Korea

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2014, 14:82  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-14-82

Published: 10 July 2014



Few studies have examined the differential effects of weight management by exercise mode on subclinical atherosclerosis. We hypothesized that 3 modes of aerobic, resistance, and combination exercises have differential effects on the flow-mediated dilation (FMD), carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) as well as cardiometabolic profile in weight management.


A randomized, single-blind trial (ISRCTN46069848) was conducted in Seoul, South Korea between November 2011 and December 2012. Randomized participants were 110 women with abdominal obesity (aerobic group n = 50; resistance group n = 30; combination exercise group n = 30). The treatment period was 12 months with 3-month follow up: A diet-alone intervention for the first 3 months and a diet-plus-exercise intervention for the next 9 months according to exercise modes. The exercise training was designed with an intensity of 50-70% heart rate reserve for 3 days a week in 60-minute-long sessions for 9 months, consisting of 30-minute treadmill and 30-minute bike exercises for aerobic group; upper and lower body exercises with an intensity target of 2 sets and 8–12 repetitions for resistance group; 30-minute resistance and consecutive 30-minute aerobic exercises for combination group.


Ninety-two and 49 participants were analyzed for modified intention-to-treat analysis and per-protocol (PP) analysis, respectively. The 3 exercise modes had no significant differential effects on FMD, PWV, and IMT over time; however, the combination group was found to have significantly lower levels of fasting glucose than the aerobic group (p = .034) in the PP analysis. Nevertheless, we observed significant time effects such as reductions in PWV (p = .048) and IMT (p = .018) in cubic and quadratic trends, respectively, and improvements in body weight, waist circumference, low-density and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, fasting glucose levels, and cardiorespiratory fitness in linear, quadratic, or cubic trends.


For women with abdominal obesity, a combination of aerobic and resistance exercises may be preferable to a single exercise mode for effective glucose control. Regardless of exercise mode, exercise interventions combined with dietary interventions in weight management may be beneficial in reducing the risk of subclinical atherosclerosis and cardiometabolic risk.