According to a new research from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Centre, the reduction of fat cells in abdomen – which are a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease – cannot be achieved only by a diet.
"The message is very clear," said Tongjian You, Ph.D., instructor in geriatric medicine at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author. "Exercise is important to reducing the size of these cells, and may one day be part of a prescription for treating the health complications associated with abdominal fat."
It is well known that overall obesity is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. However obese people who have more fat in the waist area are at a higher risk than other obese people. Abdominal fat is associated with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes.
The current research studied a lesser-known risk factor for the syndrome – the size of fat cells just under the surface of the skin, known as subcutaneous fat. "The size of these fat cells predicts type 2 diabetes, independent of whether the patient is obese," said You.
The results – from 45 obese, middle-age women with excess abdominal fat – are part of an ongoing study of up to 125 women. The goal is to determine what lifestyle changes are needed to reduce the size of these fat cells. One group of women who cut their calorie levels through diet, but did not exercise had no changes in abdominal adipose cell size after the 20-week study period. The other groups who exercised three times a week had decreases of about 18 percent in the size of their fat cells in the abdomen. All groups lowered their fat mass, body weight (by 19 to 23 pounds), percent fat, and waist and hip girths (by 3 to 4 inches in hips and 4 inches in waists) to a similar degree.
MEDICA.de; Source: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center