Effects of volume-matched once-weekly and thrice-weekly high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on body adiposity in adults with central obesity: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Chit K. LEUNG, Joshua D. K. BERNAL, Angus P. YU, Francesco RECCHIA, Bjorn T. TAM, Daniel Y. T. FONG, King Chung Derwin CHAN, Heidi H. NGAI, Chi H. LEE, Patrick S. H. YUNG, Stephen H. S. WONG, Martin GIBALA, Parco M. SIU

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Abstract

Objective: This study aims to examine the comparative effects of 75 min of volume-matched once-weekly and thrice-weekly high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on body adiposity in adults with central obesity. 

Methods: This assessor-blinded, three-arm, randomized controlled trial will recruit 315 physically inactive adults with central obesity (aged ≥18 years, body mass index ≥23, waist circumference ≥90 cm for men and ≥80 cm for women). Participants will be randomly allocated to the once-weekly HIIT, thrice-weekly HIIT or usual care control group. Participants in the HIIT groups will receive weekly exercise training sessions for 16 weeks, prescribed either once or three times weekly. Each HIIT session will consist of a supervised program of four 4-min high-intensity intervals at 85%–95% peak heart rate (HRpeak) interspersed with 3-min active recovery intervals at 50%–70% HRpeak. Participants in the once-weekly HIIT group will perform the 25-min HIIT bout three times with a break between each 25-min HIIT bout. The usual care control group will receive bi-weekly health education classes. The outcome assessments will be conducted at baseline, 16 weeks (post-intervention) and 32 weeks (follow-up). The primary outcome will be total body adiposity assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The secondary outcome measures will include markers of cardiovascular and metabolic health (body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, blood pressure, and blood lipids), mental health, cognitive performance, health-related quality of life, sleep quality, habitual physical activity, diet, medication, adverse events and adherence to the intervention. 

Impact of the project: The findings from this study are expected to consolidate the therapeutic efficacy of HIIT for the management of central obesity and inform the comparative compliance, feasibility and suitability of once-weekly and thrice-weekly HIIT as exercise strategies to manage obesity. In particular, the present study is expected to provide a novel perspective on the utility of low-frequency HIIT (i.e., once-weekly) as an effective and sustainable exercise strategy to tackle the obesity pandemic. The anticipated findings will hold substantial translational value by informing public health policies and enhancing exercise compliance in the physically inactive obese population. 

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT04887454). Copyright © 2024 The Society of Chinese Scholars on Exercise Physiology and Fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-340
JournalJournal of Exercise Science and Fitness
Volume22
Early online dateJun 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Citation

Leung, C. K., Bernal, J. D. K., Yu, A. P., Recchia, F., Tam, B. T., Fong, D. Y. T., Chan, D. K. C., Ngai, H. H., Lee, C. H., Yung, P. S. H., Wong, S. H. S., Gibala, M., & Siu, P. M. (2024). Effects of volume-matched once-weekly and thrice-weekly high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on body adiposity in adults with central obesity: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness, 22, 329-340. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesf.2024.05.001

Keywords

  • Abdominal obesity
  • High-intensity exercise
  • HIIT
  • Low-frequency exercise training

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