Researchers from Duke and East Carolina Universities devised a study to focus on this issue, reporting their findings at the 2003 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) annual meeting in San Francisco in late May. The study subjects consisted of 111 overweight men and women, age range, 40 to 65, randomly assigned to either a control group who did no exercise,or one of three exercise groups:
- 12 miles walking each week
- 12 miles jogging each week
- 20 miles jogging each week
The study lasted 8 months. Results showed that those in the inactive control group gained 1.1 kilograms of weight, increasing their visceral fat deposits by 10%. The walking group lost 1.3 kilograms of weight, gaining 3.3% visceral fat. The 12-mile jog group lost 1.1 kilograms of bodyweight, and reduced visceral fat by 5.9%. The 20-mile jog group lost 3.5 kilograms of bodyweight, and 10% visceral fat. Only those in the 20-mile jog group showed a loss of subcutaneous fat (7.6%), or fat just under the skin.
The results of this study show that for purposes of reducing visceral fat, the more exercise, the better. In addition, the level of exercise intensity also is important, as the 12-mile jog group showed superior results to the 12-mile walk group. Another notable point of this study is that visceral fat continued to increase in the sedentary group, showing that future serious health problems are inevitable in obese people who don't exercise.