1. Section Editor(s): Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN
  2. Jacobson, Joy


Walking plus weight loss minimizes bone loss and decreases inflammation.


Article Content

In postmenopausal women, as in the general population, the prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically over the past 30 years. Although obesity is a significant risk factor for the development of many chronic diseases, researchers have also linked it to a possible protective effect on bone mineral density (BMD). In addition, in the absence of exercise, postmenopausal weight loss has been linked to a reduction in BMD. A group of researchers hypothesized that weight loss achieved through caloric restriction plus aerobic exercise, as opposed to caloric restriction alone, may both minimize the loss of bone and decrease inflammation (another risk factor for BMD loss). In a retrospective analysis, they compared overweight and obese postmenopausal women ages 50 to 70 with body mass indexes of 25 to 40 who participated in a six-month weight-loss (n = 40) or weight-loss-plus-walking (n = 46) program. Outcome measures included BMD, bone mineral content, inflammatory cytokines, maximal aerobic capacity, and fat and lean masses. Weight decreased by about 8% in both groups, and fat decreased by 15% in the weight-loss group and by 12.5% in the walking group. However, in contrast to the weight-loss group, the walking group experienced statistically significant increases in aerobic capacity, along with a 2% increase in BMD. Furthermore, the walking group experienced significant decreases in inflammatory markers, whereas the weight-loss group had significant increases in one marker. These findings suggest that adding aerobic exercise to weight-loss interventions for overweight, postmenopausal women protects against bone loss and decreases inflammation.


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