Influence of previous body mass index and sex on regional fat changes in a weight loss intervention

Objectives: Men and women may lose weight in a different fashion. This study compares the changes in different anatomical regions after a well-controlled weight loss program by sex and initial BMI.

Methods: A total of 180 subjects (48 overweight women, 36 overweight men, and 48 obese women and 48 obese men) were recruited to participate in a 22-week weight loss programme (diet + exercise).

Results: Regarding percentage body weight change from baseline, there was no triple interaction (BMI, sex and anatomical region), but there was interaction between BMI and anatomical region (F2,840=34.5; p<0.001), and between sex and anatomical region (F2,840=98.8; p<0.001). Usually, the arms and legs are the regions that lose more weight in obese participants, but men lose the highest percentage of mass from the trunk. There were differences between men and women for the areas of left trunk mass (750g), right trunk mass (700g), total mass of the trunk (1400g), android mass (350g), and finally in the total mass in overweight participants (1300g), with higher values for men than for women. The region that loses more weight and fat is the trunk, followed by the legs, and then the arms, when the loss is observed in function of the total weight or fat lost.

Conclusion. Both BMI and sex exert a definite influence fat loss, especially in some anatomical regions.


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