Fat oxidation rate during and after a low- or high-intensity exercise in severely obese Caucasian adolescents

  • Stefano Lazzer
  • Claudio Lafortuna
  • Carlo Busti
  • Raffaela Galli
  • Tiziana Tinozzi
  • Fiorenza Agosti
  • Alessandro Sartorio
Original Article


The objective is to study the effects of low-intensity (LI) or high-intensity (HI) equicaloric exercises on energy expenditure (EE) and substrate oxidation rate during and after the exercises in severely obese Caucasian adolescents. Twenty obese boys (BMI-SDS 3.04 ± 0.52, %Fat Mass 38.2 ± 2.1%) aged 14–16 years (pubertal stage >3) participated in this study. Maximal oxygen uptake (V′O2max) and maximal fat oxidation rate were determined with indirect calorimetry using a graded exercise test on a treadmill. EE and substrate oxidation rate during equicaloric low-intensity (LI, 42% V′O2max for 45 min) and high-intensity (HI, 67% V′O2max for 30 min) exercises on a treadmill and during post-exercise recovery period (60 min) were determined with indirect calorimetry. Maximal fat oxidation rate was observed at 42 ± 6% V′O2max (62 ± 5% HRmax) and fat oxidation rate was 0.45 ± 0.07 g/min. The total amounts of EE, during the LI and HI exercises, and the post-exercise recovery periods were not significantly different (1,884 ± 250 vs. 1,973 ± 201 kJ, p = 0.453), but the total amount of fat oxidised was significantly higher (+9.9 g, +55.7%, p < 0.001) during the LI exercise than during the HI exercise. However, fat oxidation rates during the post-exercise recovery periods were not significantly different following LI and HI exercises. Total fat oxidised was significantly higher during the LI than during the HI exercise in obese adolescents. However, the equicaloric exercise intensity did not influence EE, fat and carbohydrate oxidation rate during the recovery period.


Fat metabolism Obesity Exercise intensity Energy metabolism Body composition 



We are grateful to the adolescents for their kind collaboration and the nursing staff of the Division of Auxology, Italian Institute for Auxology, IRCCS, for their qualified assistance during the clinical study, to Dr. PG. Marinone, Dr. R. Zennaro and Dr S. Marzorati for their help with measurements. We thank Dr M. Vermorel (INRA, France) for his valuable advice in analysing the data and for improving the manuscript, and Dr J. M. H. Buckler for the English revision. The study was supported by Progetti di Ricerca Corrente, Italian Institute for Auxology, Milan, Italy.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefano Lazzer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Claudio Lafortuna
    • 3
  • Carlo Busti
    • 1
  • Raffaela Galli
    • 1
  • Tiziana Tinozzi
    • 4
  • Fiorenza Agosti
    • 1
  • Alessandro Sartorio
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Istituto Auxologico Italiano, IRCCSLaboratorio Sperimentale di Ricerche Auxo-EndocrinologicheMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie BiomedicheUniversità degli Studi di UdineUdineItaly
  3. 3.Istituto di Bioimmagini e Fisiologia Molecolare del Consiglio Nazionale delle RicercheSegrateItaly
  4. 4.Istituto Auxologico Italiano, IRCCSServizio di DietologiaVerbaniaItaly
  5. 5.Istituto Auxologico Italiano, IRCCSDivisione di AuxologiaVerbaniaItaly

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