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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 615624, 8 pages
Research Article

Low Fat Loss Response after Medium-Term Supervised Exercise in Obese Is Associated with Exercise-Induced Increase in Food Reward

1Biopsychology Group, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
2Sport, Health, and Nutrition, Leeds Trinity University College, Leeds, UK
3Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Received 25 April 2010; Revised 29 June 2010; Accepted 20 August 2010

Academic Editor: Eric Doucet

Copyright © 2011 Graham Finlayson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To examine exercise-induced changes in the reward value of food during medium-term supervised exercise in obese individuals. Subjects/Methods. The study was a 12-week supervised exercise intervention prescribed to expend 500 kcal/day, 5 d/week. 34 sedentary obese males and females were identified as responders (R) or non-responders (NR) to the intervention according to changes in body composition relative to measured energy expended during exercise. Food reward (ratings of liking and wanting, and relative preference by forced choice pairs) for an array of food images was assessed before and after an acute exercise bout. Results. 20 responders and 14 non-responders were identified. R lost 5.2 kg ± 2.4 of total fat mass and NR lost 1.7 kg ± 1.4. After acute exercise, liking for all foods increased in NR compared to no change in R. Furthermore, NR showed an increase in wanting and relative preference for high-fat sweet foods. These differences were independent of 12-weeks regular exercise and weight loss. Conclusion. Individuals who showed an immediate post-exercise increase in liking and increased wanting and preference for high-fat sweet foods displayed a smaller reduction in fat mass with exercise. For some individuals, exercise increases the reward value of food and diminishes the impact of exercise on fat loss.