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The objective of this meta-analysis is to summarize the effect of exercise intervention on flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) in overweight and obese adults. We searched four electronic databases (PubMed/Medline, Scopus, and CINAHL) through June 2016 for relevant studies pertaining to the effectiveness of exercise intervention on FMD. Seventeen of the 91 studies identified met the inclusion criteria. Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software (version 3) was used to compute the standardized mean difference effect size (ES) and 95% CI using a random effects model. We calculated 34 ESs. We found that exercise intervention had medium and positive effects on FMD, with an overall ES of 0.522 (95% CI = 0.257, 0.786). Heterogeneity of ESs was observed (𝑄𝑏 = 239, 𝑝 ≀ 0.001, 𝐼 2 = 86.19), and the effect was moderated by comorbidity (𝑄𝑏 = 6.39, df = 1, 𝑝 = 0.011). A large ES for the combination exercise, low intensity exercise, and comorbidity subgroups (ES = 0.82∼1.24) was found. We conclude that while exercise intervention significantly improves FMD in overweight and obese adults, the effect may depend on the different characteristics of exercise intervention and on participants’ demographics.


Published in: International Journal of Vascular Medicine Volume 2017, Article ID 7532702, 11 pages

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