Effect of improved fitness beyond weight loss on cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with type 2 diabetes in the Look AHEAD study

Bethany Barone Gibbs, Frederick Louis Brancati, Haiying Chen, MacE Coday, John M. Jakicic, Cora E. Lewis, Kerry J. Stewart, Jeanne M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Because lifestyle-induced improvements in cardiovascular risk factors vary substantially across individuals with type 2 diabetes, we investigated the extent to which increases in fitness explain cardiovascular risk factor improvements independent of weight loss in a lifestyle intervention. Methods: We studied 1-year changes in Look AHEAD, a randomized trial comparing an intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) to a diabetes support and education (DSE) control group in adults with type 2 diabetes. Assessments included weight, fitness, blood pressure (BP), glucose, HbA1c, and lipids.We evaluated the effects of changes in weight and fitness on changes in cardiovascular risk factors by study arm, using R2 from multiple linear regression. Results: Analyses included participants with fitness data at baseline and 1-year (n=4408; 41% male, 36% non-white; mean age 58.7 6.8 years). Weight change alone improved R2 for explaining changes in risk factors up to 8.2% in ILI and 1.7% in DSE. Fitness change alone improved R2 up to 3.9% in ILI and 0.8% in DSE. After adjusting for weight change, fitness was independently associated (p<0.05) with improvements in R2 for glucose (+0.7%), HbA1c (+1.1%), highdensity lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (+0.4%), and triglycerides (+0.2%) in ILI and diastolic BP (+0.3%), glucose (+0.3%), HbA1c (+0.4%), and triglycerides (+0.1%) in DSE. Taken together, weight and fitness changes explained from 0.1-9.3% of the variability in cardiovascular risk factor changes. Conclusion: Increased fitness explained statistically significant but small improvements in several cardiovascular risk factors beyond weight loss. Further research identifying other factors that explain cardiovascular risk factor change is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-617
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Cardiovascular risk factor
  • fitness
  • lifestyle intervention
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of improved fitness beyond weight loss on cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with type 2 diabetes in the Look AHEAD study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this