The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


DREW Primary Outcomes Paper Published in JAMA

DREW LogoThe DREW (Dose Response to Exercise) study was proposed in response to an NHLBI Program Announcement (Physical Activity and Cardiopulmonary Health) requesting applications on a variety of issues, including physical activity dose-response studies. Our goal is to investigate the effect of different amounts of exercise training on cardiorespiratory fitness and systolic blood pressure.

The randomized controlled trial of 464 sedentary, postmenopausal, overweight or obese women with a body mass index between 25 and 43 and systolic blood pressure between 120 and 159.9 mm Hg was conducted at The Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas from 2001 to 2006. This study examined the effect of 50%, 100%, and 150% of the recommended physical activity dose on fitness.

Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups: non-exercise control, 4 kcal/kg energy expenditure per week, 8 kcal/kg energy expenditure per week, and 12 kcal/kg energy expenditure per week, for a 6-month intervention. Target training intensity was the heart rate associated with 50% of each woman's peak Vo2. The primary outcome was aerobic fitness assessed on a cycle ergometer and quantified as peak absolute oxygen consumption (Vo2abs, L/min).

The mean (SD) baseline Vo2abs values were 1.3 (0.25) L/min. The mean (SD) minutes of exercising per week were 72.2 (12.3), 135.8 (19.5), and 191.7 (33.7) for the 4-, 8-, and 12-kcal/kg per week exercise groups, respectively. After adjustment for age, race/ethnicity, weight, and peak heart rate, the exercise groups increased their Vo2abs compared with the control group by 4.2%, 6.0%, and 8.2% in the 4-, 8-, and 12-kcal/kg per week exercise groups, respectively (P<.001 for each vs. control; P for trend <.001). There was no treatment x subgroup interaction for age, body mass index, weight, baseline Vo2abs, race/ethnicity, or baseline hormone therapy use. There were no significant changes in systolic or diastolic blood pressure values from baseline to 6 months in any of the exercise groups vs. the control group.

Previously sedentary, overweight or obese postmenopausal women experienced a graded dose-response change in fitness across levels of exercise training. More information about this study can be referenced at the following:

Journal of the American Medical Association