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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009 Aug;34(4):571-81. doi: 10.1139/H09-066.

Physical activity and abdominal obesity in youth.

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Department of Health and Physical Activity, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.


Childhood obesity continues to escalate despite considerable efforts to reverse the current trends. Childhood obesity is a leading public health concern because overweight-obese youth suffer from comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease, conditions once considered limited to adults. This increasing prevalence of chronic health conditions in youth closely parallels the dramatic increase in obesity, in particular abdominal adiposity, in youth. Although mounting evidence in adults demonstrates the benefits of regular physical activity as a treatment strategy for abdominal obesity, the independent role of regular physical activity alone (e.g., without calorie restriction) on abdominal obesity, and in particular visceral fat, is largely unclear in youth. There is some evidence to suggest that, independent of sedentary activity levels (e.g., television watching or playing video games), engaging in higher-intensity physical activity is associated with a lower waist circumference and less visceral fat. Several randomized controlled studies have shown that aerobic types of exercise are protective against age-related increases in visceral adiposity in growing children and adolescents. However, evidence regarding the effect of resistance training alone as a strategy for the treatment of abdominal obesity is lacking and warrants further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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