Exercise and the development and persistence of dietary obesity in male and female rats

Barbara J. Rolls, Edward A. Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Adult male and female hooded rats were housed in sedentary conditions or were given free access to a running wheel. Exercising and sedentary rats received either a palatable, mixed, high energy diet with chow (experimental group) or only chow (control group). Exercise reduced the weight gain of the males but not of the females. All experimental groups preferentially selected the palatable foods. Both exercising and sedentary females and the sedentary males became obese compared to their controls, but the exercising males did not. The mixed diet was withdrawn after 10 weeks: thereafter the male and female sedentary experimental groups maintained the elevated body weight. The exercising experimental females showed significant weight loss. Analysis of x-ray photographs indicated that elevated body weight in the experimental rats probably reflected increased deposition of fat and not skeletal growth. The results show that the effect of exercise on the development of dietary obesity is different in males and females, and that sedentary male and female rats can both show persistent dietary obesity after withdrawal of the palatable foods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-247
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1979

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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