Investigators at the University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Chinese Academy of Sciences and UCLA conducted a study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, which revealed that tai chi mirrors the beneficial effects of conventional exercise by reducing waist circumference in middle-aged and older adults who have central obesity.
Central obesity is broadly defined as a cluster of cardiometabolic risk factors, including dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels and high blood pressure.
For this study, 543 participants were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to a control group with no exercise intervention (181), conventional exercise consisting of aerobic exercise and strength training (EX group, 181) and a tai chi group (TC group, 181).
After 12 weeks, waist circumference, body weight, body mass index, HDL-C, triglyceride and fasting plasma glucose levels were assessed. Both the EX and TC groups showed reductions in waist circumference, body weight and HDL-C levels compared to the control group. In fact, results in the EX and TC groups were comparable, suggesting that tai chi is an effective approach to reduce waist circumference in adults with central obesity aged 50 years or older.