The first objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of brisk walking on moderately obese (body mass index, 29-35 kg/m2) postmenopausal women’s perceived health, assessed through a novel short perceived health questionnaire (SPHQ), and to verify whether improvements in six items examined were related to cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and/or fat mass changes (study 1). The second objective of this study was to test the SPHQ against validated generic instruments (study 2).
From the 270 women included in study 1, 181 participants were subjected to three 45-minute walking sessions per week at 60% of their heart rate reserve, whereas 58 women remained inactive for 4 months. Perceived health assessed through the SPHQ, body composition, and CRF were determined before and after the 4-month study period. Another sample of 20 women was selected to validate the SPHQ (study 2).
Despite a lack of between-group differences in the amelioration of four perceived health items, ideal weight and stress level were improved in women subjected to our walking program exclusively (P < 0.0001). Improved perceived healthy balanced diet was positively correlated to fat mass reduction in the walking group (r = 0.15; P < 0.05) only (study 1). The SPHQ shows good reproducibility for five of six items (intraclass correlation coefficients ranging from 0.77 to 0.89; P < 0.0001), and three of them were validated against generic tools (0.45 < r < 0.54; P < 0.05; study 2).
Additional studies are needed to more accurately determine the relationships between changes in perceived health and changes in body fatness and/or CRF after endurance training and to continue the validation of the SPHQ.
A 4-month walking program improves perceived ideal weight and stress level in moderately obese and sedentary postmenopausal women.
From the 1Faculty of Sport Sciences and Human Kinetics, Université P. Sabatier, Toulouse, France; and 2Fédération Française d’Éducation Physique et de Gymnastique Volontaire, Paris, France.
Received July 11, 2012; revised and accepted November 13, 2012.
S.G. performed data collection, supervision of measurements, and figures/manuscript preparation. I.G. supervised training and measurements and collected data. S.J. critically revised the manuscript. G.A. and P.M. were coinvestigators and carried out study design, supervision of data collection and statistical analyses, and manuscript preparation.
Funding/support: This study was supported by the Conseil Régional Midi-Pyrénées (France) and the Fédération Française d’Éducation Physique et de Gymnastique Volontaire.
Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.
Address correspondence to: Pascale Mauriège, PhD, Faculty of Sport Sciences and Human Kinetics, Université Paul Sabatier, 118, Route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse Cedex, France. E-mail: email@example.com