Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology



First Advisor

Matthew Delmonico


BACKGROUND: The increased prevalence of obesity and function limitations associated with aging are major public health problems in the U.S. The risk of developing obesity and functional limitations is higher in minority populations living in urban settings and previous research has shown that Tai Chi, resistance training, and diet individually result in increased levels of physical function and facilitate healthy weight loss. However, the combination of these specific interventions has yet to be examined in obese older women in an urban setting. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to examine a combined resistance training (RT), Tai Chi, and a behaviorally-based dietary intervention on physical function. METHODS: Using a non-randomized design, 28 obese women (65.2 ± 8.1 yr) completed a 12-week intervention; participants were assigned to an intervention group (EXD, BMI = 38.83 ± 5.06) or a control group (CON, BMI = 36.57 ± 3.39). The EXD group (n = 19) participated in Tai Chi three times per week for 45 minutes, RT twice per week for 45 minutes (2-3 sets, 10-15 reps), and a dietary session using a modified Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet once per week for 45 minutes. The CON group (n = 9) was asked to continue their normal lifestyle. Outcomes measured were the short physical performance battery (SPPB), the timed up and go (TUG), chair-sit and reach to measure flexibility, and leg and grip strength. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used for between-group comparisons adjusted for baseline values. RESULTS: TUG time was significantly reduced by 0.64 ± 2.1 sec (p = 0.04) in the EXD group while the CON group saw a significant increase of 0.71 sec (p = 0.051). Flexibility measurements improved by 2.31 ± 5.4 cm in the EXD group (p = 0.08), however, the CON group saw no significant changes from baseline (1.69 cm ± 6.97; p = 0.51). CONCLUSION: Tai Chi, RT, and dietary changes helped improve performance on TUG time and flexibility, but there were no statistically significant increases in muscle strength measures or SPPB scores. Further research should be conducted using this combination of interventions with a larger sample size to verify these findings.



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