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The level of aerobic fitness has implications in maintaining weight loss

Source / Disclosures


O’Keefe E, et al. VO2 max and implications for long-term weight reduction. Presented at: American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting; April 23-25, 2020 (virtual meeting)

Disclosures: O’Keefe reports support for the University of Michigan’s Diabetes Metabolism, Endocrinology and Weight Management Program and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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The improvement in aerobic capacity has led to a greater percentage of weight loss in some populations, according to data to be presented at the CAP internal medicine meeting.

The CPA canceled its annual meeting due to COVID-19, but the organization released a video of the presentation, which was recorded and submitted by researchers.

“VO2 max is a measure of aerobic capacity or physical fitness measured in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight … with a heart rate monitor and oxygen mask on a stationary bike or treadmill.” Erin O’Keefe, a medical student at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, said during the presentation. “Research has not clearly elucidated the ways in which physical activity and the change in VO2 max impact long-term weight loss.”

The researchers hypothesized that people who participated in Michigan’s weight management program would have significant improvements in weight loss and peak exercise capacity. “We also looked to assess whether a higher baseline VO2 max or a change in physical condition resulted in greater maintenance of weight loss,” said O’Keefe.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers conducted a prospective observational study of 115 people aged 20 to 70 who had a BMI greater than 32 kg / m2 and a “weight-related health condition” such as type 2 diabetes. Participants’ weight and VO2 max levels were checked at baseline and at 2 years. after participating in the University of Michigan Weight Management Program. According to O’Keefe, the intensive, multidisciplinary, multi-component lifestyle program consisted of three stages: gradual transition, where participants consume a low-calorie diet; and weight maintenance, where participants make frequent and regular visits to a doctor and dietitian to support ongoing behavior changes. All participants were also encouraged to engage in light to moderate physical activity in the first two phases, and then to engage in moderate to more vigorous physical activity in the final phase.

O’Keefe and his colleagues found that after completing the program, 39% of 59 men improved their VO2 max level in one or more categories. Almost half of the men stayed in the same VO2 max category. Among the 56 women in the study, 34% improved their VO2 max level while 55% remained at the same level. The increase in VO2 max categories relative to percent weight loss was statistically significantly greater in women aged 40 to 49 and in men aged 50 to 59. A higher baseline VO2 max was statistically significant in men and women aged 50 to 59.

“This suggests that the participants… lost a lot of weight and improved their level of fitness,” O’Keefe said. “However, we cannot conclude causation in this study. But we do know that diet and physical activity are strongly integrated behaviors, and it’s encouraging to see that patients are simultaneously losing weight and getting fitter. “

She suggested that other studies control other variables, such as medications, that could impact weight loss. “Physical activity survey instruments could be designed to validate self-reported data,” added O’Keefe.

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