The additive effect of Tai Chi during dietary weight loss on physical function in obese older women

Marisa C Benson, University of Rhode Island


Background. Obesity is a growing problem among older women which put them at risk for physical disability. Dietary weight loss is a common treatment for obesity but may result in negative consequences including decreases in physical function. Exercise during dietary weight loss has been studied and shown to improve physical function but alternative modalities have not been studied. Tai Chi has proven benefits on physical function but no research currently exist that examines the effect of Tai Chi during a dietary weight loss program in obese, older women. Objective. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of Tai Chi during dietary weight loss on measures of physical function. Methods. A 16-week intervention was performed in 27 obese women randomized into either a Tai Chi with weight loss (TCWL: N=14; age=60.4±5.9yrs) or weight loss only group (WL: n=13, age = 62.7±6.0yrs). The primary outcome measure was the 400 meter walk (400mw) and secondary measures included other measures of global physical functioning, flexibility, leg and grip strength and muscle quality. Both groups participated in behaviorally-based, 16 week, modified DASH program for WL. The TCWL group completed three, 45 minute session of a modified Yang style Tai Chi per week. Between-group comparisons were made using an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) adjusted for baseline values. Results. A tendency for significance was observed between the TCWL and WL group for leg strength (p=0.062), grip strength (p=0.070), TUG (p=0.069), and FFM (p=0.056). There were no significant differences between groups in the 400mw, other global measures of function, or muscle quality. Conclusion. Tai Chi does not appear to have a significant additive effect on global measures of physical function during dietary weight loss in obese, older women but may help increase leg and grip strength.^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Recreation

Recommended Citation

Marisa C Benson, "The additive effect of Tai Chi during dietary weight loss on physical function in obese older women" (2012). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI1508280.