Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology



First Advisor

Matthew J. Delmonico


Obesity is a public health problem affecting approximately 35.4% of Americans 60 years of age or older and African-American women are considered at high-risk for obesity. Exercise and diet are effective at reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Resistance training (RT) has been reported to preserve or increase skeletal muscle mass, functional status, well-being, and improve memory. Tai Chi (TC), a form of martial art, is an exercise composed of slow deliberate movements that can result in improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors including body composition, but no studies have combined diet, RT and TC in a community-based study in obese older women with a strong minority representation. Purpose: To examine the effects of combined TC, RT and diet on percent body fat (%BF) in obese older women in an urban setting. Methods: A 12-week intervention with 26 obese women (65% African-American), using a non-randomized design to a TC, RT, plus Diet group (EXD, n=19, age 65.1 ± 8.1 years, BMI = 38.8 ± 5.1 kg/m2) or a control group (CON, n=9, age 65.5 ± 8.6 years, BMI = 36.5 ± 3.4 kg/m2). Height and weight were assessed using standard techniques. Percent BF was assessed using a bioelectrical impedance analysis at baseline and at the end of the intervention in the morning in a fasted state. The EXD group participated in three, 45 min TC sessions, two, 45 min RT sessions and a one day, 45 min per week behaviorally-based dietary lesson using the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. The CON group was asked to maintain their normal diet and daily routine. Between-group (EXD vs. CON) changes in the primary and exploratory outcome variables from baseline to post-testing were determined via analysis of covariance. Results: There were no significant within- or between-group differences in %BF (EXD: -0.33 ± 1.5, p = 0.39 vs. CON: 0.31 ± 3.2, p = 0.55; between-group p = 0.55). Conclusion: This combination of TC, RT, and dietary modifications study did not have a substantial effect on lowering %BF in this urban population of obese women, but a larger, more comprehensive study may need to be done to verify these results.



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