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Benefits of a year-long workplace weight loss program on cardiovascular risk factors

journal contribution
posted on 2002-06-01, 00:00 authored by J Pritchard, Caryl NowsonCaryl Nowson, T Billington, J Wark
Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a year-long workplace weight loss program in reducing risk factors of coronary heart disease.

Design: A randomised, controlled study of low fat (25% of dietary energy) diet- and/or moderate exercise-induced weight loss interventions in free-living, middle-aged men. Compliance was monitored from food and activity diaries at monthly blood pressure measurement sessions. Blood was sampled and body composition determined from dual energy X-ray absorptiometry before and after 12 months.

Subjects and setting: Fifty-eight overweight men (mean [+ or -] SD age: 43.4 [+ or -] 5.7 years; BMI 29.0 [+ or -] 2.6 kg/[m.sup.2]), recruited from a national corporation, were instructed into diet (n = 18) exercise (a 21) or control (n = 19) groups over 12 months; 16 control subjects combined diet and exercise (n = 16) for the subsequent 12 months.

Main outcome measures: At 12 months, weight, total and regional fat and lean mass, dietary energy and percentage dietary fat intake, physical activity indices, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, serum insulin, blood lipids and lipoproteins.

Statistical analyses: Differences between groups were tested using analysis of variance with Scheffe post hoc test. Differences between pre- and post-intervention variables were tested using Students' paired t-tests. Pearson's correlation coefficient and univariate linear regression identified association between dependent variables, multiple stepwise regression identified specific predictors.

Results: Weight loss with either diet or exercise resulted in a reduction in systolic blood pressure (-3.3 [+ or -] 1.7%), diastolic blood pressure (-4.8 [+ or -] 1.3%) and LDL cholesterol (-3.9 [+ or -] 2.8%), a rise in HDL cholesterol (+10.0 [+ or -] 3.8%) and a change in the LDL/HDL ratio (-8.9 [+ or -] 3.5%). Abdominal fat loss (-26.8 [+ or -] 3.6% after diet; -16.6 [+ or -] 4.5% after exercise; -21.0 [+ or -] 4.7% after diet and exercise) was the strongest predictor of change in blood pressure: twenty percent abdominal fat loss predicted a percentage fall of 2.4 [+ or -] 0.05% in systolic blood pressure and 5.4 [+ or -] 0.07% in diastolic blood pressure. Greater abdominal fat loss was associated with the greatest decrease in serum insulin (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Modest changes in diet and exercise effected by a low cost workplace-based education program achieved weight loss, loss of abdominal fat, reduced blood pressure and serum insulin and improved blood lipid concentrations. (Nutr Diet 2002;59:87-96)



Nutrition and dietetics






87 - 96


Blackwell Publishing Limited


Oxford, England





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2002, Dietitians Association of Australia

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