Aerobic or Resistance Exercise, or Both, in Dieting Obese Older Adults


Obesity causes frailty in older adults; however, weight loss might accelerate age-related loss of muscle and bone mass and resultant sarcopenia and osteopenia.


In this clinical trial involving 160 obese older adults, we evaluated the effectiveness of several exercise modes in reversing frailty and preventing reduction in muscle and bone mass induced by weight loss. Participants were randomly assigned to a weight-management program plus one of three exercise programs — aerobic training, resistance training, or combined aerobic and resistance training — or to a control group (no weight-management or exercise program). The primary outcome was the change in Physical Performance Test score from baseline to 6 months (scores range from 0 to 36 points; higher scores indicate better performance). Secondary outcomes included changes in other frailty measures, body composition, bone mineral density, and physical functions.


A total of 141 participants completed the study. The Physical Performance Test score increased more in the combination group than in the aerobic and resistance groups (27.9 to 33.4 points [21% increase] vs. 29.3 to 33.2 points [14% increase] and 28.8 to 32.7 points [14% increase], respectively; P=0.01 and P=0.02 after Bonferroni correction); the scores increased more in all exercise groups than in the control group (P<0.001 for between-group comparisons). Peak oxygen consumption (milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute) increased more in the combination and aerobic groups (17.2 to 20.3 [17% increase] and 17.6 to 20.9 [18% increase], respectively) than in the resistance group (17.0 to 18.3 [8% increase]) (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Strength increased more in the combination and resistance groups (272 to 320 kg [18% increase] and 288 to 337 kg [19% increase], respectively) than in the aerobic group (265 to 270 kg [4% increase]) (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Body weight decreased by 9% in all exercise groups but did not change significantly in the control group. Lean mass decreased less in the combination and resistance groups than in the aerobic group (56.5 to 54.8 kg [3% decrease] and 58.1 to 57.1 kg [2% decrease], respectively, vs. 55.0 to 52.3 kg [5% decrease]), as did bone mineral density at the total hip (grams per square centimeter; 1.010 to 0.996 [1% decrease] and 1.047 to 1.041 [0.5% decrease], respectively, vs. 1.018 to 0.991 [3% decrease]) (P<0.05 for all comparisons). Exercise-related adverse events included musculoskeletal injuries.


Of the methods tested, weight loss plus combined aerobic and resistance exercise was the most effective in improving functional status of obese older adults. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; LITOE number, NCT01065636.)

Effect of Oral Iron Repletion on Exercise Capacity in Patients With Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction and Iron Deficiency

Question  Does therapy with oral iron improve exercise capacity in patients with heart failure and iron deficiency?

Findings  In this randomized clinical trial of 225 adults with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction, oral iron polysaccharide minimally repleted iron stores and had no significant effect on exercise capacity at 16 weeks compared with placebo (+23 mL/min for oral iron polysaccharide vs −2 mL/min for placebo).

Meaning  These findings do not support the use of oral iron supplementation in patients with heart failure and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction and iron deficiency.

Reference: JAMA. 2017;317(19):1958-1966.

Effect of structured physical activity on prevention of serious fall injuries in adults aged 70-89: randomized clinical trial (LIFE Study)

Objective To test whether a long term, structured physical activity program compared with a health education program reduces the risk of serious fall injuries among sedentary older people with functional limitations.

Design Multicenter, single blinded randomized trial (Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) study).

Setting Eight centers across the United States, February 2010 to December 2011.

Participants 1635 sedentary adults aged 70-89 years with functional limitations, defined as a short physical performance battery score ≤9, but who were able to walk 400 m.

Interventions A permuted block algorithm stratified by field center and sex was used to allocate interventions. Participants were randomized to a structured, moderate intensity physical activity program (n=818) conducted in a center (twice a week) and at home (3-4 times a week) that included aerobic, strength, flexibility, and balance training activities, or to a health education program (n=817) consisting of workshops on topics relevant to older people and upper extremity stretching exercises.

Main outcome measures Serious fall injuries, defined as a fall that resulted in a clinical, non-vertebral fracture or that led to a hospital admission for another serious injury, was a prespecified secondary outcome in the LIFE Study. Outcomes were assessed every six months for up to 42 months by staff masked to intervention assignment. All participants were included in the analysis.

Results Over a median follow-up of 2.6 years, a serious fall injury was experienced by 75 (9.2%) participants in the physical activity group and 84 (10.3%) in the health education group (hazard ratio 0.90, 95% confidence interval 0.66 to 1.23; P=0.52). These results were consistent across several subgroups, including sex. However, in analyses that were not prespecified, sex specific differences were observed for rates of all serious fall injuries (rate ratio 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.31 to 0.95 in men; 1.07, 0.75 to 1.53 in women; P=0.043 for interaction), fall related fractures (0.47, 0.25 to 0.86 in men; 1.12, 0.77 to 1.64 in women; P=0.017 for interaction), and fall related hospital admissions (0.41, 0.19 to 0.89 in men; 1.10, 0.65 to 1.88 in women; P=0.039 for interaction).

Conclusions In this trial, which was underpowered to detect small, but possibly important reductions in serious fall injuries, a structured physical activity program compared with a health education program did not reduce the risk of serious fall injuries among sedentary older people with functional limitations. These null results were accompanied by suggestive evidence that the physical activity program may reduce the rate of fall related fractures and hospital admissions in men.

Trial registration NCT01072500.

By Thomas M Gill (et al), BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 03 February 2016)

Effect of Caloric Restriction or Aerobic Exercise Training on Peak Oxygen Consumption and Quality of Life in Obese Older Patients With Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Importance  More than 80% of patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF), the most common form of heart failure among older persons, are overweight or obese. Exercise intolerance is the primary symptom of chronic HFPEF and a major determinant of reduced quality of life (QOL).

Objective  To determine whether caloric restriction (diet) or aerobic exercise training (exercise) improves exercise capacity and QOL in obese older patients with HFPEF.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Randomized, attention-controlled, 2 × 2 factorial trial conducted from February 2009 through November 2014 in an urban academic medical center. Of 577 initially screened participants, 100 older obese participants (mean [SD]: age, 67 years [5]; body mass index, 39.3 [5.6]) with chronic, stable HFPEF were enrolled (366 excluded by inclusion and exclusion criteria, 31 for other reasons, and 80 declined participation).

Interventions  Twenty weeks of diet, exercise, or both; attention control consisted of telephone calls every 2 weeks.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Exercise capacity measured as peak oxygen consumption (V̇o2, mL/kg/min; co–primary outcome) and QOL measured by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure (MLHF) Questionnaire (score range: 0–105, higher scores indicate worse heart failure–related QOL; co–primary outcome).

Results  Of the 100 enrolled participants, 26 participants were randomized to exercise; 24 to diet; 25 to exercise + diet; 25 to control. Of these, 92 participants completed the trial. Exercise attendance was 84% (SD, 14%) and diet adherence was 99% (SD, 1%). By main effects analysis, peak V̇o2 was increased significantly by both interventions: exercise, 1.2 mL/kg body mass/min (95% CI, 0.7 to 1.7), P < .001; diet, 1.3 mL/kg body mass/min (95% CI, 0.8 to 1.8), P < .001. The combination of exercise + diet was additive (complementary) for peak V̇o2 (joint effect, 2.5 mL/kg/min). There was no statistically significant change in MLHF total score with exercise and with diet (main effect: exercise, −1 unit [95% CI, −8 to 5], P = .70; diet, −6 units [95% CI, −12 to 1],P = .08). The change in peak V̇o2 was positively correlated with the change in percent lean body mass (r = 0.32; P = .003) and the change in thigh muscle:intermuscular fat ratio (r = 0.27; P = .02). There were no study-related serious adverse events. Body weight decreased by 7% (7 kg [SD, 1]) in the diet group, 3% (4 kg [SD, 1]) in the exercise group, 10% (11 kg [SD, 1] in the exercise + diet group, and 1% (1 kg [SD, 1]) in the control group.

Conclusions and Relevance  Among obese older patients with clinically stable HFPEF, caloric restriction or aerobic exercise training increased peak V̇o2, and the effects may be additive. Neither intervention had a significant effect on quality of life as measured by the MLHF Questionnaire.

Trial Registration Identifier: NCT00959660

Dalane W. Kitzman et al, JAMA. 2016;315(1):36-46

Effect of Lifestyle-Focused Text Messaging on Risk Factor Modification in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Importance Cardiovascular disease prevention, including lifestyle modification, is important but underutilized. Mobile health strategies could address this gap but lack evidence of therapeutic benefit.

Objective To examine the effect of a lifestyle-focused semipersonalized support program delivered by mobile phone text message on cardiovascular risk factors. Design and Setting The Tobacco, Exercise and Diet Messages (TEXT ME) trial was a parallel-group, single-blind, randomized clinical trial that recruited 710 patients (mean age, 58 [SD, 9.2] years; 82% men; 53% current smokers) with proven coronary heart disease (prior myocardial infarction or proven angiographically) between September 2011 and November 2013 from a large tertiary hospital in Sydney, Australia.

Interventions Patients in the intervention group (n=352) received 4 text messages per week for 6 months in addition to usual care. Text messages provided advice, motivational reminders, and support to change lifestyle behaviors. Patients in the control group (n=358) received usual care. Messages for each participant were selected from a bank of messages according to baseline characteristics (eg, smoking) and delivered via an automated computerized message management system. The program was not interactive.

Main Outcomes and Measures The primary end point was low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level at 6 months. Secondary end points included systolic blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), physical activity, and smoking status. Results At 6 months, levels of LDL-C were significantly lower in intervention participants (mean difference, −5 mg/dL [95% CI, −9 to 0]; P=.04). There were concurrent reductions in systolic blood pressure (−7.6 mm Hg [95% CI, −9.8 to −5.4]; P<.001) and BMI (−1.3 [95% CI, −1.6 to −0.9]; P<.001), significant increases in physical activity (+293 metabolic equivalent task min/wk [95% CI, 102 to 485]; P=.003), and a significant reduction in smoking (26% vs 44%; relative risk, 0.61 [95% CI, 0.48 to 0.76]; P<.001). The majority reported the text-message program to be useful (91%), easy to understand (97%), and appropriate in frequency (86%).

Conclusions and Relevance Among patients with coronary heart disease, the use of a lifestyle-focused text messaging service compared with usual care resulted in a modest improvement in LDL-C level and greater improvement in other cardiovascular disease risk factors. The duration of these effects and hence whether they result in improved clinical outcomes remain to be determined.

Effect of Lifestyle-Focused Text Messaging on Risk Factor Modification in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial by Clara K. Chow, et al. JAMA. 2015;314(12):1255-1263.

Effect of a 24-Month Physical Activity Intervention vs Health Education on Cognitive Outcomes in Sedentary Older Adults: The LIFE Randomized Trial

Importance Epidemiological evidence suggests that physical activity benefits cognition, but results from randomized trials are limited and mixed.

Objective To determine whether a 24-month physical activity program results in better cognitive function, lower risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia, or both, compared with a health education program.

Design, Setting, and Participants A randomized clinical trial, the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) study, enrolled 1635 community-living participants at 8 US centers from February 2010 until December 2011. Participants were sedentary adults aged 70 to 89 years who were at risk for mobility disability but able to walk 400 m. Interventions A structured, moderate-intensity physical activity program (n = 818) that included walking, resistance training, and flexibility exercises or a health education program (n = 817) of educational workshops and upper-extremity stretching.

Main Outcomes and Measures Prespecified secondary outcomes of the LIFE study included cognitive function measured by the Digit Symbol Coding (DSC) task subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (score range: 0-133; higher scores indicate better function) and the revised Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT-R; 12-item word list recall task) assessed in 1476 participants (90.3%). Tertiary outcomes included global and executive cognitive function and incident MCI or dementia at 24 months.

Results At 24 months, DSC task and HVLT-R scores (adjusted for clinic site, sex, and baseline values) were not different between groups. The mean DSC task scores were 46.26 points for the physical activity group vs 46.28 for the health education group (mean difference, −0.01 points [95% CI, −0.80 to 0.77 points], P = .97). The mean HVLT-R delayed recall scores were 7.22 for the physical activity group vs 7.25 for the health education group (mean difference, −0.03 words [95% CI, −0.29 to 0.24 words], P = .84). No differences for any other cognitive or composite measures were observed. Participants in the physical activity group who were 80 years or older (n = 307) and those with poorer baseline physical performance (n = 328) had better changes in executive function composite scores compared with the health education group (P = .01 for interaction for both comparisons). Incident MCI or dementia occurred in 98 participants (13.2%) in the physical activity group and 91 participants (12.1%) in the health education group (odds ratio, 1.08 [95% CI, 0.80 to 1.46]).

Conclusions and Relevance Among sedentary older adults, a 24-month moderate-intensity physical activity program compared with a health education program did not result in improvements in global or domain-specific cognitive function.

Effect of a 24-Month Physical Activity Intervention vs Health Education on Cognitive Outcomes in Sedentary Older Adults: The LIFE Randomized Trial by Kaycee M. Sink, et al. for the LIFE Study Investigators – 5 – JAMA. 2015;314(8):781-790.