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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


CALLE, María Teresa Restrepo; PENA, Alcira Monroy de; GIRALDO, Jaime Pérez  and  ECHEVERRI, María Cristina Velásquez. The effect of controlled physical activity on the body composition of postmenopausal sedentary women. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.14, n.4, pp.229-234. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a controlled physical activity program on the weight and body composition of healthy sedentary postmenopausal women. METHODS: From a group of 138 postmenopausal women volunteers, 18 of them were selected, using a survey that measured the frequency and intensity of their physical activity. These 18 women were classified as "sedentary," having an average daily energy expenditure (in terms of mL of oxygen per kg per minute) that was below 60% of the maximum oxygen consumption for their age. These 18 women underwent a general physical examination, laboratory tests, and spirometry to make certain that they did not have illnesses that would prevent them from participating in the planned controlled physical activity program. The activity program lasted 4 months, with three one-hour sessions per week. Before and after the program the following characteristics were evaluated for each participant: weight, body fat, and the fatty area and the lean area of the arm, the thigh, and the leg. In addition, energy intake was determined based on a record of food consumption, with the frequency of the consumption of specific foods assessed semiquantitatively. The Student's t test was used to compare the averages for all the measurements before and after the exercise program. When the variables did not have a normal distribution, the Wilcoxon signed rank sum test was utilized. RESULTS: At the end the program we found a reduction of 1.2 kg in weight and of 2.0 kg in body fat, while the lean mass increased by 1.0 kg. Also increasing were the lean area of the arm, of the thigh, and of the leg; the areas of fat in those parts of the body decreased. The differences were statistically significant for all the variables observed except for the lean area of the thigh. There were no significant differences between the women's energy intake at the beginning and the end of the program. CONCLUSIONS: The controlled physical activity program improved the body composition of this group of women, decreasing the fat deposits and increasing the lean body mass.

Keywords : Actividad física; mujeres; composición corporal; Colombia.

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