Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 221–227 | Cite as

Does physical activity reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in overweight and obese individuals?



For individuals considered overweight or obese, physical activity or more structured exercise is recommended to facilitate weight loss and reduce risk of long-term disease. Physical activity and structured exercise programs, however, rarely result in significant loss of body weight or body fat, especially in women. Despite the minimal effect of exercise on weight loss, exercise has multiple health benefits for overweight and obese individuals, including skeletal muscle adaptations that improve fat and glucose metabolism and insulin action; enhanced endothelial function; favorable changes in blood lipids, lipoproteins, and hemostatic factors; and reductions in blood pressures, postprandial lipemia, and proinflammatory markers. These exercise-induced adaptations occur independently of changes in body weight or body fat. Thus, physically inactive individuals considered at increased risk for cardiovascular disease due to both sedentary lifestyle and a high body mass index should be encouraged to engage in regular physical activity, regardless of whether a more active lifestyle leads to weight loss.


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Copyright information

© Current Medicine Group LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kinesiology ProgramUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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