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Exercise May Decrease Hepatic Lipids Without Weight Loss

Small study suggests aerobic training can modify obesity's metabolic and cardiovascular effects

MONDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- In obese, sedentary adults, regular aerobic exercise significantly reduces hepatic lipids even in the absence of weight loss, according to a study published in the October issue of Hepatology.

Nathan A. Johnson, Ph.D., of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues studied 19 obese volunteers who participated in a progressive, four-week aerobic training regimen that consisted of three cycle ergometer sessions (30 to 45 minutes each) per week.

The researchers found that the training regimen was associated with significant reductions in visceral adipose tissue volume, hepatic triglyceride concentration, and plasma free fatty acids (12, 21, and 14 percent, respectively). The regimen had no effect on body weight, vastus lateralis intramyocellular triglyceride concentration, abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue volume, hepatic lipid saturation, or insulin resistance.

"Thus, regular exercise may mitigate the metabolic and cardiovascular consequences of obesity, including fatty liver, and this is not contingent upon weight loss," the authors conclude.

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