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Development and evaluation of a lifestyle physical activity intervention for obese sedentary women


Physical inactivity has been established as an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in both lean and obese individuals. Increasing physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in obese individuals attenuates the comorbidities associated with obesity and the reduction in risk is comparable to that of smoking cessation. Despite the benefits of physical activity, prevalence of physical inactivity is high , particularly among obese women. Recent evidence indicates that lifestyle physical activity programs that are based on behavior change theory are an effective alternative to traditional exercise programs in promoting the adoption of physical activity in sedentary individuals. The primary aim of this study was two-fold : 1) Develop a 24-week, theory-based lifestyle physical activity intervention for obese sedentary women; 2) Evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention by assessing changes in physical activity and CRF after 24 weeks of intervention and 24 weeks of follow-up. Secondary aims were to examine the effect of the Lifestyle intervention on dietary practices, CVD risk factors, and psychological measures of behavior change. Fifty-eight obese sedentary women were randomized into the Lifestyle intervention developed for this study (n=29) or a "Usual Care" intervention (n=29). After 24 weeks, significant improvements in physical activity, CRF, Body Mass Index (BMI), diastolic blood pressure, self-efficacy, and eight of the 10 processes of change occurred among Lifestyle participants. No changes in these variables were observed among Usual Care participants. Attrition was significantly lower among Lifestyle participants than among Usual Care participants. After 48 weeks, levels of physical activity , CRF, and self-efficacy were significantly higher than baseline among Lifestyle participants but not among Usual Care participants. LDL-cholesterol levels were significantly lower in Lifestyle participants at 48 weeks but systolic blood pressure was significantly higher. BMI was significantly higher at 48 weeks than at baseline among Usual Care participants but not among Lifestyle participants. The Lifestyle intervention developed for this study was effective in producing significant improvements in physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, LDL-cholesterol, and self-efficacy among obese sedentary women.


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Overweight women
Exercise for women


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