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UW-Eau Claire Faculty/Student Study Results
Published in Journal of Women's Health

RELEASED: March 4, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — A study completed by University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire assistant professor of kinesiology Lance Dalleck and a team of student researchers was published last month by the "Journal of Women's Health." The study focused on the dose-response relationship between exercise amount and coronary heart disease risk factors in postmenopausal women.

This study yielded some of the most rewarding findings he's seen in his research at UW-Eau Claire, Dalleck said.

The research team consisted of recent graduates Brittany Allen, Bailey Hanson, Erica Borresen, Mary Erickson and junior Sondra De Lap, De Forest. It was funded by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for a Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates.

The group started with 33 volunteers aged 45-75, with an average age of 58. Twenty-six women completed the program. Volunteers were divided into three groups: a control group, a group exercising 30 minutes a day five days a week, and a group exercising 45 minutes a day five days a week. Students supervised the exercise programs every weekday morning for 12 weeks. The women were monitored for blood pressure, aerobic or cardiorespiratory fitness, lipid/blood glucose profile and changes in body composition.

The most significant changes were in cardiorespiratory fitness and body fat composition. The group that exercised for 30 minutes fives days a week showed a 13 percent increase in cardiorespiratory fitness and 2 percent decrease in body fat. The women who added just 15 more minutes per day showed a 23 percent increase in cardiorespiratory fitness and a 4 percent decrease in body fat.

"Although most health organizations agree that 150 minutes per week of physical activity will reduce the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, few randomized, controlled studies have examined whether completing more physical activity than the recommended amount will yield additional benefits," said Dalleck. "Our findings suggest there is a dose-response relationship between exercise duration and numerous health outcomes in postmenopausal women, including cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, waist circumference and HDL cholesterol.

"Cardiorespiratory fitness, though frequently under-appreciated by those in the medical community in particular, is overall the most important component of health," Dalleck said. "In fact, it has been shown to be a better predictor of longevity compared to smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol and other conventional factors usually cited as important in improving cardiovascular health."

For more information, contact Dalleck at 715-836-3774 or dalleclc@uwec.edu.

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LB/NW

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