Objectives: Overweight and obesity are increasing in individuals over age 60 years. This systematic review quantifies the effect of exercise on body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and lipids in overweight and obese individuals over the age of 60 years. Settings: Nine randomised controlled trials conducted in Brazil, Great Britain, Iceland, Japan and the USA compared aerobic and/or resistance exercise with a control group. Participants: Final analysis reviewed 1166 participants over the age of 60 years for 3-9 months. Primary outcome measures: This study reviewed the effects of exercise on BMI, WC and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Results: Exercise produced a significant reduction in BMI (-1.01 kg/m2, 95% CI -2.00 to -0.01) and WC (-3.09 cm, 95% CI -4.14 to -2.04) but not LDL cholesterol (-0.31 mg/dL, 95% CI -0.81 to 0.19). Analyses revealed substantial heterogeneity likely due to the type and intensity of exercise. Data on adverse effects were minimal. The overall level of evidence is moderate due to imprecision and heterogeneity. Conclusions: Exercise in overweight and obese older individuals improves anthropometric measures such as BMI and WC. The effect of exercise on serum lipids is unclear.
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