Obesity is a major contributing factor to the development of many chronic diseases. The risk of type 2 diabetes is 10-fold greater in men and 20-fold in women compared to normal weight individuals. Weight reduction and exercise have been shown to be effective preventive and treatment strategies.
In Ireland two of every three adults are overweight or obese (25% obese; 39% overweight), representing a 127% increase in obesity since 1990. Obesity is a risk factor for many clinical conditions including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and arthritis, and can lead to premature death and disability. The direct and indirect cost of obesity in the EU was €32.8b in 2002 (15 member states) and approximately €600m in Ireland.
A recent study from the School of Health and Human Performance found that 21% of 15-17 year old adolescents are overweight or obese and other studies provide equivalent data for a range of child and adolescent age groups in Ireland. A similar pattern is evident in diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
We also propose to investigate the role of different exercise regimes. Eccentric exercise is known to cause muscle damage but the regeneration of muscle fibres results in a more resilient and effective tissue. We believe this may result in a muscle tissue that has greater metabolic activity and contribute to energy expenditure in obese subjects. Eccentric exercise training has never been used as a training tool to improve metabolic health.