The following is a summary of “Aerobic exercise capacity is normal in obesity with or without metabolic syndrome,” published in the APRIL 2023 issue of Pulmonology by Deboeck, et al.

For a study, researchers sought to assess the aerobic capacity of obese individuals and determine whether metabolic syndrome (MS) or hypertensive treatment affects the results of cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET). 

A total of 146 obese patients underwent CPET, with 33 and 31 individuals matched for MS and antihypertensive medication, respectively. The VO2peak (mL/min/kg) was reported as a percentage of the predicted value divided by body weight, fat-free mass (FFM), or the body weight expected for a body mass index of 24 (BMI24). 

The results showed that VO2peak (20.8 ± 4.4 mL/min/kg) was normal when expressed as a percentage of the predicted value for obesity (111 ± 22%pred) or divided by FFM and weightBMI24 (33.6 ± 5.6 and 30.6 ± 6.2, respectively). The latter correlated better with the maximal work rate (r = 0.7168, P < 0.001). Obese patients also had normal ventilatory efficiency (ventilation to carbon dioxide production slope: 28 ± 4), VO2 to work rate (10.2 ± 1.6 mL O2/Watt), and slightly elevated heart rate to VO2slope (4.0 ± 1.1 bpm/mL/min/kg). Hypertensive medicated patients had higher blood pressure at the anaerobic threshold (142 ± 23 vs. 158 ± 26 mmHg, P = 0.001) but not at maximal exercise (189 ± 31 vs. 201 ± 23 mmHg, P = NS) and had lower actual maximal heart rate (155 ± 23 vs. 143 ± 25 bpm, P = 0.03) compared to normotensive individuals. 

There was no difference between obese patients with or without MS. Therefore, obese individuals with or without MS have similar and normal aerobic profiles related to excess body weight. The VO2peak divided by weightBMI24 was a simple and clinically meaningful index for obese patients.