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J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2013;26(3-4):271-6. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2012-0157.

Improved metabolic and cardiorespiratory fitness during a recreational training program in obese children.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.


Physical activity may protect from the adverse effects of obesity. In obese children, an increased adherence and a decreased drop-out rate during exercise could be achieved with adapted activities. We studied a recreational 12-week controlled training program for sedentary obese children, including interactive video games. We enrolled 22 obese subjects (13.23±1.76 years) in an exercise program, implemented twice a week for a 12-week period. The program consisted of a combination of circuit-based aerobics, strength and resistance exercises; specifically soccer, rugby, volleyball and basketball and interactive video game exercises. Outcome measurements included body composition, metabolic profile and cardiorespiratory fitness. During the 12-week training program there was a significant decrease in body mass index (BMI) (p=0.002), SDS-BMI (p=0.003), waist circumference (p=0.004), waist circumference/height ratio (p=0.001),% fat mass (p=0.001), blood glucose (p=0.001), homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (p=0.04), triglycerides (p=0.03) and systolic pressure (p=0.04) before and after exercise. Improvement in estimated maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) (p<0.001) correlated with a decrease in fat mass (p=0.01), triglycerides (p=0.04) and insulin resistance (p=0.02). Exercise improved metabolic and cardiorespiratory fitness in obese children. Exercise training does not necessarily need to be vigorous, recreational programs are also effective and may encourage children to participate in physical activity and limit initial drop-out.

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