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A standardized exercise intervention differentially affects premenopausal and postmenopausal African-American women

Kretzschmar, Jan BS1,2; Babbitt, Dianne M. MS1; Diaz, Keith M. PhD1,3; Feairheller, Deborah L. PhD1,4; Sturgeon, Kathleen M. PhD1,5; Perkins, Amanda M. PhD1,6; Veerabhadrappa, Praveen PhD1,7; Williamson, Sheara T. PhD1,8; Ling, Chenyi BS1,2; Lee, Hojun MS1; Grimm, Heather MS1,2; Thakkar, Sunny R. MS1; Crabbe, Deborah L. MD9; Kashem, Mohammed A. MD1,9; Brown, Michael D. PhD1,2

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000133
Original Articles

Objective African-American women represent an understudied population in menopause research yet face greater postmenopausal challenges associated with mortality than their white peers. We investigated the effects of a mild-intensity aerobic exercise training program on markers of mortality risk in both premenopausal and postmenopausal African-American women.

Methods Sixteen premenopausal women and 19 postmenopausal women underwent 6 months of mild-intensity aerobic exercise training. Measurements included markers of blood lipid and glucose profile, inflammation, kidney function, vascular health, and aerobic fitness before and after the exercise intervention.

Results Before the exercise intervention, the premenopausal and postmenopausal groups only differed in age, low-density lipoprotein, and total cholesterol levels, with the latter two being higher in the postmenopausal group. Both triglycerides and markers of early-stage endothelial dysfunction (CD62E+ endothelial microparticles) improved in both groups with aerobic exercise training. Aerobic fitness, glomerular filtration rate, body mass index, plasma glucose levels, and markers of late-stage endothelial dysfunction (CD31+/CD42b endothelial microparticles) only improved in the premenopausal group.

Conclusions Mild-intensity aerobic exercise training succeeds in improving some markers of cardiovascular disease and mortality in postmenopausal women. Higher levels of exercise intensity or perhaps additional interventions may need to be considered to further decrease mortality risk in this population.

From the 1Department of Kinesiology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; 2Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL; 3Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY; 4Exercise Science Department, Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA; 5Institute of Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; 6Department of Kinesiology, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO; 7Department of Exercise Science, College of Education, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA; 8Department of Biology, Notre Dame University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; and 9Division of Cardiology, School of Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.

Received July 1, 2013; revised and accepted September 18, 2013.

Funding/support: This research was supported by National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute grant RO1 (HL085497) to M.D.B.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Jan Kretzschmar, BS, University of Illinois at Chicago, Rm 615, 1919 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612. E-mail:

© 2014 by The North American Menopause Society.