The Effect of a 6-Month Exercise Intervention Trial on Allostatic Load in Black Women at Increased Risk for Breast Cancer: the FIERCE Study

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Background: Allostatic load comprises cardiovascular, metabolic, and inflammatory markers, which is characterized by abdominal obesity, high blood glucose levels, impaired glucose tolerance, dyslipidemia, and hypertension and associated with an increased risk in breast cancer. Methods: The study was a 6-month, 3-arm randomized controlled trial of two moderate-intensity exercise interventions (compared with a control group) among obese, physically inactive, postmenopausal Black women aged 45 to 65 years, who were at increased risk for breast cancer based on the CARE model. Two hundred thirteen participants were randomly assigned to (1) supervised, facility-based aerobic exercise intervention (n = 73), (2) home-based exercise intervention (n = 69), or (3) a wait-listed control group (n = 71). The intervention effects of exercise on allostatic load were examined with intent-to-treat analyses using generalized linear models. Results: It was revealed that statistically significant decreases in allostatic load over the 6-month period for both exercise intervention groups (i.e., home-based and supervised arms) compared to the controls were observed among the total population, pc-h = 0.023 and pc-s = 0.035, as well as among women with a family history of breast cancer, pc-h = 0.006 and pc-s = 0.012. Conclusions: Short-term aerobic activity improved allostatic load scores in metabolically unhealthy postmenopausal Black women at increased risk for cancer. Trial Registration: Clinical trial registration number NCT02103140.

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