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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2014, Article ID 834865, 12 pages
Clinical Study

Continuous Exercise but Not High Intensity Interval Training Improves Fat Distribution in Overweight Adults

1Discipline of Exercise and Sports Science, The University of Sydney, Lidcombe, NSW 2141, Australia
2Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Received 18 July 2013; Revised 17 October 2013; Accepted 22 November 2013; Published 16 January 2014

Academic Editor: George P. Nassis

Copyright © 2014 Shelley E. Keating 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. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of high intensity interval training (HIIT) versus continuous aerobic exercise training (CONT) or placebo (PLA) on body composition by randomized controlled design. Methods. Work capacity and body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) were measured before and after 12 weeks of intervention in 38 previously inactive overweight adults. Results. There was a significant group × time interaction for change in work capacity ( ), which increased significantly in CONT ( %) and HIIT ( %) but not PLA ( %). There was a near-significant main effect for percentage trunk fat, with trunk fat reducing in CONT by % and in PLA by %, but not in HIIT (increase of %) ( ). There was a significant reduction in android fat percentage in CONT ( %) and PLA ( %) but not HIIT (increase of %) ( ). Conclusion. These data suggest that HIIT may be advocated as a time-efficient strategy for eliciting comparable fitness benefits to traditional continuous exercise in inactive, overweight adults. However, in this population HIIT does not confer the same benefit to body fat levels as continuous exercise training.