A recent study presented at the American Diabetes Association 70th Scientific Sessions demonstrated that aerobic or resistance exercise (weight lifting) in obese boys can decrease the amount of total and visceral body fat and improve insulin resistance compared to boys who did not exercise. Insulin resistance can lead to Type II diabetes. The initial study was to compare the effects of aerobic and resistance exercise to body fat and insulin resistance. Young males 12 to 18 years old with a BMI greater than the 95th percentile (average BMI about 35). The researchers expected to see that aerobic exercise would be superior to resistance exercise. The study looked at moderate exercise for 180 minutes a week. In the study, the amount of energy used in aerobic and weight lifting was approximately the same.
After the 3 month study, the patients were measured for weight, BMI, body fat, and insulin resistance. Both exercise groups about the same amount of weight and the control group gained weight. Although the aerobic group had a better cardiovascular fitness result, both groups improved over the control group. The total fat loss was slightly higher in the aerobic group but the loss of visceral body fat was about the same for the exercise groups. Insulin resistance improved in both exercise groups but the resistance group had a greater improvement.
This study shows that aerobic or resistance training can be beneficial to young males. Resistance training may be more desired by young males as the choice of exercise. Regardless of the type of exercise, males can benefit by lower BMI, body fat, and insulin resistance.