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July 17, 1996

More Exercise, Less Central Fat Distribution in Women

Author Affiliations

University of Otago Dunedin, New Zealand

JAMA. 1996;276(3):193-194. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540030027013

To the Editor.  —Reducing central fat distribution is a desirable health goal today. There is increasing evidence that women with a high proportion of their body fat in the trunk (indicating high intra-abdominal fat stores) have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes1,2 than those with proportionally more fat in the hips and thighs. We report that women who have high levels of physical activity maintain not only a lower body fat content and a higher lean body mass, but also have a more healthy regional fat distribution than women of similar height and weight who exercise less.We performed a cross-sectional observational study using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) to compare the body composition and regional body fat distribution of competitive female athletes (n=14) habitually undertaking high levels of physical activity with values in sedentary women (n=14) matched for height and age. The DEXA measurements enable accurate determination