In February 2019 researchers from The Netherlands published the results of their study to assess the effect of weight loss with or without exercise on abdominal fat in postmenopausal women. A total of 97 individuals received a calorie-restricted diet, 98 a partly supervised intensive exercise programme of 4 hours per week combined with a small calorie restricted diet, whilst 48 acted as a control group. The amount and distribution of abdominal fat was assessed in all individuals at the start of the study and again at 16 weeks. Results showed that those in the diet group lost 6% of body weight whilst those in the exercise plus diet group lost 7%. Compared to the control group, both the diet and diet plus exercise groups experienced a significant reduction in both subcutaneous and intra-abdominal fat. A further analysis revealed that the group who combined diet with exercise had a significantly larger reduction in subcutaneous fat than the diet-only group although the intra-abdominal fat loss was similar in both groups.
van Gemert WA et al. Effect of diet with or without exercise on abdominal fat in postmenopausal women – a randomised trial. BMC Public Health. 2019 Feb 11;19(1):174