The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    CAM Archive: Effect of exercise intensity and belly fat

    If you exercise enough, is it possible to selectively lose abdominal fat?

    No, say researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

    First, the details.

    • 112 overweight and obese postmenopausal women participated.
      • Body mass index: 25-40 kg/m2
      • Waist circumference greater than 88 cm
    • They were assigned to a 20-week program.
      • Calorie restriction (CR only)
      • CR plus moderate-intensity aerobic exercise
      • CR plus vigorous-intensity exercise
    • Diet followed a controlled program of underfeeding during which meals were provided at individual calorie levels (about 400 kcal/day).
    • Exercise (3 days/week) involved treadmill walking at an intensity of 45% to 50% (moderate-intensity) or 70% to 75% (vigorous-intensity) of heart rate reserve.

    And, the results.

    • Average weight loss did not differ across groups.
    • Maximal aerobic exercise capacity (VO2max) increased significantly more with CR + vigorous-intensity vs the other groups.
    • The CR-only group lost significantly more lean mass than either exercise group.
    • All groups showed significant but similar decreases in abdominal fat.
    • Changes in lipids, fasting blood sugar or insulin values were similar among the groups.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “There is not a preferential loss of abdominal fat when either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise is performed during caloric restriction.”

    2/23/09 19:57 JR

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