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Weight Loss, Exercise Cut Frailty in Older Obese Adults

Multiple physical and functional measures improve with moderate training

TUESDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Moderate weight loss and exercise training improve fitness and reduce frailty in older obese adults, and should be standard therapy for such patients, according to a report in the April 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Dennis T. Villareal, M.D., and colleagues from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, randomized 27 frail obese volunteers to either a program consisting of weekly behavioral therapy and three-times-a-week exercise training, or control treatment. Training lasted six months and multiple measures of frailty and physical fitness were used to evaluate the subjects before and after training.

In the treatment group, the combined weight loss and exercise program reduced average body weight by 8.4 percent, decreased fat mass by an average of 6.6 kg, and improved multiple measures of physical and functional performance, such as strength, walking speed and one-leg limb stance time. Weight and fat mass did not change in the control group.

"Moderate weight loss and exercise training improves both objective and subjective measures of physical function and ameliorates frailty in obese older adults," the authors conclude. "Therefore, diet and exercise should be considered as primary therapy in frail obese older adults."

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