The Effect of Eight Weeks of Mediterranean Diet and High-Intensity Interval Training on Body Composition in Obese and Overweight Premenopausal Women

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Sport Sciences, International Division, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of Sport Sciences, School of Education and Psychology, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

3 Department of Nutrition, School of Allied Medical Sciences, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran


Background: One of the most important strategies aimed to reduce obesity and the adverse health effects is lifestyle modifications consisted of a balanced diet and increased physical activity. This study evaluated the effect of eight weeks of Mediterranean diet (MD) and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on body composition in obese and overweight premenopausal women.
Methods: Forty-seven participants aged 34.43±7.22 years old were assigned into 4 groups of MD, HIIT, MD+HIIT, and control group. The interventions consisted of instructions to follow MD without calorie restriction and/or HIIT exercises on cycle ergometer were carried out for 8 weeks as 3 sessions per week. Body composition and anthropometric measurements were determined after 8 weeks.
Results: Weight loss and decrease in waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) were significant in MD and MD+HIIT groups. Body fat mass (BFM) and skeletal muscle mass (SMM) decreased only in MD+HIIT group. HIIT group showed no significant changes in weight, BMI, BFM, SMM, and waist circumference. Moreover, all intervention groups showed a significant decrease in visceral fat level.
Conclusion: MD was shown to lead to more changes in body composition and anthropometry measurements, except for SMM. However, adding HIIT to MD could increase weight and fat loss and reduce waist circumference. So combination of MD and HIIT can be recommended when weight and fat loss and reduction of waist circumference are targeted.