HealthDay News — Tai chi is beneficial for management of central obesity among adults aged 50 years and older, according to a study published online May 31 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Parco M. Siu, Ph.D., from the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial to examine the therapeutic efficacy of tai chi for management of central obesity. A total of 543 participants aged 50 years or older with central obesity were randomly assigned to a control group with no exercise intervention, conventional exercise consisting of aerobic exercise and strength training (EX group), or a tai chi group (TC group; 181 in each group). The interventions were for 12 weeks.

The researchers found that in the control group, the adjusted mean difference in waist circumference (WC) was 0.8 cm from baseline to week 12. Relative to control, both intervention groups showed reductions in WC (adjusted mean differences, −1.8 and −1.3 cm for TC and EX, respectively); both groups also had decreases in body weight and attenuation of the decrease in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level relative to controls. In both the TC and EX groups, the favorable changes in WC and body weight were maintained at week 38, while the beneficial effect on HDL-C was only maintained in the TC group.

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“Our findings support the notion of incorporating tai chi into global physical activity guidelines for middle-aged and older adults with central obesity,” the authors write.

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