Publication Date

Spring 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Jill Maples (Director), Dr. Rachel Tinius and Dr. Keri Esslinger

Degree Program

School of Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport

Degree Type

Master of Science


Background: There has been very little research regarding the metabolic health of women during the postpartum period. Metabolic flexibility is the physiological ability to alter substrate oxidation in response to substrate availability and is a good indicator of overall metabolic health. Metabolic flexibility can be assessed by placing metabolic demands on the body and observing metabolic responsiveness- two examples of such metabolic stressors are lipid oxidation rates in response to a high-fat meal and as well as exercise. However, it is unknown whether postpartum women will respond similarly to these two different types of metabolic stressors. This information will allow researchers and clinicians to understand whether postpartum women can be considered more or less metabolically flexible based on one of these tests alone, or if both types of metabolic stress should be incorporated into research designs and/or clinical practice to fully understand one’s metabolic health during this critical time period.

Objective: To determine the association between the metabolic responsiveness to a high-fat meal and a 30- minute continuous, moderate-intensity exercise among women during the sixth- month postpartum period.

Methods: Seventeen healthy, postpartum women (age: 32 ± 4.5 year; body mass index: 24.74 ± 3.97 kg/m²) participated approximately six months after delivery. Metabolic measurements VO2 and VCO2 (L. min ̄ ¹) were measured and used to calculate the rates of lipid oxidation (g. min ̄ ¹) at baseline, two-hour post consumption of a high-fat meal and during a moderate-intensity exercise for 30-minutes.

Results: A correlation was found between the lipid oxidation fold change in response to a high-fat meal and exercise (r= 0.45, p= 0.08; however, it was not statistically significant. There was a significant effect of time on lipid and carbohydrate oxidation rates (p

Conclusion: A trending relationship was observed between the metabolic responsiveness to a high-fat meal and a 30-minute moderate-intensity exercise bout among women during the six-month postpartum


Exercise Physiology | Exercise Science | Obstetrics and Gynecology