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Int J Pediatr. 2010;2010:307063. doi: 10.1155/2010/307063. Epub 2010 Jun 22.

A school-based exercise intervention program increases muscle strength in prepubertal boys.

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Clinical and Molecular Osteoporosis Research Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, 22100 Lund, Sweden.


This prospective controlled intervention study over 12 months evaluated the effect of exercise on muscular function, physical ability, and body composition in pre-pubertal boys. Sixty-eight boys aged 6-8 years, involved in a general school-based exercise program of 40 min per school day (200 min/week), were compared with 46 age-matched boys who participated in the general Swedish physical education curriculum of mean 60 min/week. Baseline and annual changes of body composition were measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), stature, and body mass by standard equipments, isokinetic peak torque (PT) of the knee extensors, and flexors at 60 and 180 deg/sec by computerized dynamometer (Biodex) and vertical jump height (VJH) by a computerized electronic mat. The annual gain in stature and body mass was similar between the groups whereas the increase in total body and regional lean mass (P < .001) and fat mass (P < .001) was greater in the exercise group. The one-year gain in body mass-adjusted knee extensor and flexor PT at 180 deg/sec was significantly greater in the intervention group compared with the control group (P < .01, adjusted for age at baseline and P < .001, adjusted for age and muscle strength at baseline, resp.). There was no group difference in VJH. In conclusion, the increase in school-based physical education from 60 to 200 minutes per week enhances the development of lean body mass and muscle strength in pre-pubertal boys.

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