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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2012, Article ID 919051, 8 pages
Research Article

Do Overweight and Obese Individuals Select a “Moderate Intensity” Workload When Asked to Do So?

1Department of Medicine, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
2Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA
3Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA

Received 16 September 2011; Revised 15 December 2011; Accepted 27 February 2012

Academic Editor: AntΓ³nio Palmeira

Copyright © 2012 Cameron W. Hall 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.


The purpose of this study was (1) to determine if overweight/obese individuals (age 26–50 y) would self-select moderate exercise intensity when asked to do so and (2) to determine how this self-selected workload compared to exercising at a workload (60% peak aerobic capacity) that is known to provide cardioprotective health benefits. Oxygen consumption (VO2) and energy expenditure were measured in 33 men/women ( B M I β‰₯ 2 7  kg/m2) who completed two 30 min walking bouts: (1) self-selected walking pace on an indoor track and (2) prescribed exercise pace (60% VO2 peak) on a treadmill. The data revealed that (1) the prescribed intensity was 6% higher than the self-selected pace and elicited a higher energy expenditure ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 5 ) than the self-selected pace (+83 kJ); (2) overweight subjects walked at a slightly lower percentage of VO2 peak than the obese subjects ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 5 ); (3) men walked at a lower percentage of VO2 peak than the women ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 5 ). In conclusion when asked to walk at a moderate intensity, overweight/obese individuals tended to select a lower workload in the “moderate intensity” range which could be maintained for 30 min; however, a higher intensity which would be more cardioprotective could not be maintained for 30 min by most individuals.