Tuesday, July 08, 2014

9 Weekly Hours of Vigorous Exercise Didn't Help These Kids Outrun Their Forks

This from a small Portugese study involving 12 pre-teen boys with overweight or obesity who were assigned to participate in a structured 5-month soccer program. The program was rather intense and consisted of four weekly 60-90 min sessions designed to get the boys' heart rates up to > 80% of their HRMax (and confirmed by heart rate monitors). In addition to their 4-6 hours of soccer (the average boy in the study played nearly the full 6 hours weekly), the boys also participated in 1.5-3 hours of regular PE at school for a total of 5.5-9 hours of weekly exercise, the bulk of which was undeniably vigorous. The soccer playing lads were compared with a control group consisting of eight boys of equivalent age from an obesity clinic located in the same area as the school and who also received the schools' standard 1.5-3 hours of PE.

As far as what was measured, along with some psychological testing was body fat percentage (by means of DEXA), and of course weight.

The results? After 5 months of genuinely heroic amounts of exercise,
"no signi´Čücant changes were observed for the BMI and percentage of body fat"
The good news is that the kids felt better about themselves with improvements to their body image and self-esteem, and I've no doubt, they also likely improved their health (blood pressure, lipid profiles, exercise capacity, etc.).

If your kid's weight is a concern, help it with your kitchens, and then when you're done washing the dishes, head outside with them to play.