The effects of supervised physical training (PT) and lifestyle education(LSE) on risk factors for coronary artery disease and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus were compared in obese 7- to 11-yr-old black girls. The subjects were divided into two groups. The PT group (N = 12) completed a 5-d·wk-1, 10-wk, aerobic training program; and the LSE group participated in weekly lifestyle discussions to improve exercise and eating habits. The PT group showed a significant increase in aerobic fitness(P < 0.05) and decrease in percent body fat (P < 0.05), while the LSE group declined significantly more in dietary energy and percent of energy from fat (P < 0.05). Fasting insulin did not change significantly. The LSE group declined significantly more than the PT group in glucose (P < 0.05), and glycohemoglobin declined from baseline in both groups (P < 0.05). Lipid changes were similar in the two groups: total cholesterol/high density lipoprotein cholesterol(P < 0.01) and triglycerides (P < 0.05) declined, the low density lipoprotein (LDL)/apoproteinB ratio increased (which indicates a decrease in small dense LDL) (P < 0.05) and lipoprotein(a) increased (P < 0.05). Thus, the interventions were similarly effective in improving some diabetogenic and atherogenic factors, perhaps through different pathways; i.e., the PT improved fitness and fatness, while the LSE improved diet. Exercise and diet-induced changes in lipoprotein(a) require further investigation.