South African Medical Journal

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Weight loss in obese women - exercise v. dietary education

SR Bertram, I Venter, RI Stewart


It was postulated that a nutrition-education programme was as effective an adjunct to a diet-based weight-loss programme as an exercise regimen. Forty-five obese female volunteers were placed on the same 5 000 kJ diet and were then assigned to each of three therapy groups: (i) an exercise group, involving three 1-hour exercise sessions per week (15 women)(ii) a lecture group involving a weekly 1-hour group lecture session (15); and (iii) a control group (15) who received only the diet and no activity. Weight loss, body fat loss (%) and daily energy intake reductions were equally reduced in the subjects in all three groups who completed the programme. There was, however, a significantly higher dropout rate in the control group. Taking this into account, the weight loss in the two test groups was similar and greater than that of the control group. We conclude that, in the short term, dietary education was as effective as exercise in promoting dietary compliance and weight loss.

S Afr Med J 1990: 78: 15-18

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