European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 113, Issue 10, pp 2531–2540 | Cite as

Effects of high vs. moderate exercise intensity during interval training on lipids and adiponectin levels in obese young females

  • G. RacilEmail author
  • O. Ben Ounis
  • O. Hammouda
  • A. Kallel
  • H. Zouhal
  • K. Chamari
  • M. Amri
Original Article



We investigate the effects of 12-week interval training of moderate- or high-intensity exercise on blood lipids and plasma levels of adiponectin.


Thirty-four obese adolescent females [age = 15.9 ± 0.3 years; BMI and BMI-Z-score = 30.8 ± 1.6 kg/m2 and 3 ± 0.3, respectively], were randomized to high-intensity interval training (HIIT, n = 11), moderate-intensity interval training (MIIT, n = 11), or a control group (CG, n = 12). Maximal oxygen uptake (\(\mathop V\limits^{.} {\text{O}}_{{2{\text{peak}}}}\)), maximal aerobic speed (MAS), plasma lipids and adiponectin levels were measured in all subjects before and after training.


Following the training program, in both training groups, body mass, BMI-Z-score, and percentage body fat (% BF) decreased, while \(\mathop V\limits^{.} {\text{O}}_{{2{\text{peak}}}}\) and MAS increased. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and adiponectin levels were positively altered (−12.6 and −7.4 %; 6.3 and 8.0 %; 35.8 and 16.2 %; high to moderate training program, respectively). Waist circumference, triglyceride and total cholesterol decreased only in HIIT group (−3.5; −5.3 and −7.0 %, respectively, in all P < 0.05). Significant decrease in the usual index of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) occurred in HIIT and MIIT groups (−29.2 ± 5.3 and −18.4 ± 8.6 %, respectively; P < 0.01).


The results show that HIIT positively changes blood lipids and adiponectin variables in obese adolescent girls, resulting in improved insulin sensitivity, as attested by a lower HOMA-IR, and achieving better results compared to moderate-intensity exercise.


Training intensity Intermittent exercise Adipose tissue Insulin resistance Adolescent 



The present study was supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology of Tunisia. The authors are grateful to all of the adolescents for their cooperation; we also thank Dr. Kaabachi N., Dr. Jemaa R., Dr. Garbi A. and the dietician Miss Mrad for their medical assistance.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest related to the publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Racil
    • 1
    Email author
  • O. Ben Ounis
    • 2
  • O. Hammouda
    • 2
    • 3
  • A. Kallel
    • 4
  • H. Zouhal
    • 6
  • K. Chamari
    • 2
    • 5
  • M. Amri
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science of TunisUniversity Tunis el ManarTunisTunisia
  2. 2.Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education, Ksar Said in TunisUniversity of ManoubaTunisTunisia
  3. 3.Research Laboratory “Sport Performance Optimization”, National Center of Medicine and Sciences in Sport (CNMSS)TunisTunisia
  4. 4.Biochemistry Laboratory, CHU RabtaUniversity of Tunis El ManarTunisTunisia
  5. 5.Research and Education Centre, AspetarQatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine HospitalDohaQatar
  6. 6.Laboratoire Mouvement Sport Santé (M2S), UFR APSUniversité Rennes 2-ENS CachanRennes CedexFrance

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