The current study was designed to assess the contribution of dietary-induced weight reduction on improvements in functional capacity in moderate obesity. Twelve females (means age = 29 yr, means fat percentage = 37%) served as subjects for the study. Subjects trained on a cycle ergometer 30 min.day-1, six day.wk-1 for three or six weeks at 75 to 85 per cent of maximum heart rate (HR max). Improvements in maximal oxygen uptake (delta VO2 max I.min-1) and functional capacity (delta VO2 max ml.kg-1 min-1) were compared in an attempt to separate out training and dietary effects respectively. Measurements were also taken on both the cycle ergometer and treadmill to test for any specificity of training effects. Changes in body composition were assessed by densitometry. Following three weeks of training, there was an average increase in VO2 max ml.kg-1 min-1 on the cycle ergometer and the treadmill of 14 and 19 per cent respectively. By six weeks, this had increased to 18 and 26 per cent respectively. The contribution of weight reduction to the improvements in functional capacity was calculated to range from 20 to 33 per cent. Thus, both energy restriction and exercise training appear to be effective means of improving functional capacity in moderately obese women.
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