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Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Nov;68(5):1006-11.

Effects of a controlled trial of a school-based exercise program on the obesity indexes of preschool children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla, Thailand.


Exercise has been found to be effective for prevention of weight gain and maintenance of a stable weight in adults. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of a school-based aerobic exercise program on the obesity indexes of preschool children. Subjects were 292 second-year elementary school pupils from 2 kindergartens in Hat Yai municipality, Songkhla province, southern Thailand. A specially designed exercise program, including a 15-min walk before beginning the morning class and a 20-min aerobic dance session after the afternoon nap, 3 times a week, was conducted for 29.6 wk. Weight, height, and triceps skinfold thickness were measured 4 times. At the end of the study, the prevalence of obesity, using 95th percentile National Center for Health Statistics triceps-skinfold-thickness cutoffs, of both the exercise and control groups decreased. That of the exercise group decreased from 12.2% at baseline to 8.8% (Wilcoxon signed-rank test, P = 0.058), whereas that of the control group decreased from 11.7% to 9.7% (Wilcoxon signed-rank test, P = 0.179). A sex difference in the response of body mass index (BMI) to exercise was observed. Girls in the exercise group had a lower likelihood of having an increasing BMI slope than the control girls did (odds ratio: 0.32; 95% CI: 0.18, 0.56). In conclusion, our study suggests that a 29.6-wk school-based exercise program can prevent BMI gain in girls and may induce a remission of obesity in preschool-age children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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