Sunday, May 13, 2012

Reducing Cholesterol when you are Overweight

The power of exercise as medicine is getting more and more attention.  In a recent study in the Journal of Obesity (, a group of scientists from the West Virginia University School of Medicine summarized all studies in the literature where the effect of exercise and diet on lipid lowering was compared to the control condition of usual care or no treatment in overweight and obese adults.  This kind of study (known as a meta-analysis) can be extremely powerful since it combines many more subjects than is usually possible to include in a single study.

The analysis of more than 859 men and women with body mass index  ≥25 kg/m2 showed that exercise and diet were effective in reducing several important components of the lipid profile including total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. One important measure – high density lipoprotein cholesterol was not affected.

The findings of the study are clinically important because they imply that the exercise performed by study participants reduced the risk of death from heart disease by up to 8%. This is one more piece of strong evidence that reaching for your running shoes before – or at least at the same time as – you reach for the pill bottle might be a very wise move.

Read the abstract here and learn more about the types of exercise and the subjects studied here.


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