AEROBIC AND RESISTANCE EXERCISE PROTOCOLS FOR OVERWEIGHT AND OBESE CHILDREN: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
Estrada, Martin Salmon
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Background: In recent times, the prevalence of childhood obesity has been increasing in the United States. Obese individuals have been shown to be at an increased risk for developing health complications such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes (T2DM), and other cardiovascular disorders. Exercise is one of the methods used to prevent and treat obesity. Current exercise recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDDHS) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) are directed to healthy children or obese adults. However, they do not provide detailed exercise recommendations for overweight or obese children. This review derives aerobic and resistance exercise protocols for children with a body mass index (BMI) ≥25 from studies that have administered exercise prescriptions to overweight and obese children. Methods: A systematic review using PubMed, CINAHL, MEDLINE, PEDro, and Cochrane databases was performed. Search terms used were combinations of: obese, overweight, children, adolescent, exercise, aerobic, and resistance. Quality assessment of articles was performed using the PEDro assessment tool. Results: The primary search strategy yielded 10 studies for inclusion in this review. Seven studies utilized aerobic interventions and 3 utilized resistance interventions. The aerobic exercise protocol was derived by calculating the means of exercise parameters from the 7 aerobic studies. The resultant aerobic exercise protocol consisted of 47.1 minutes per session, 4 times per week at an intensity of 61.9% VO2 max or at least 150 bpm utilizing aerobic exercise equipment or aerobic games for at least 11.9 weeks. The resistance exercise protocol was derived by calculating the means of exercise parameters from the 3 resistance studies The resistance exercise protocol resulted in 2 sets of 10 repetitions at 72.5% of the subjects 1 repetition max 2.3 times per week. A mean of 8 exercises were performed per session focusing on both lower and upper body exercises for 12 weeks. Conclusion: Each exercise protocol was derived from studies that showed significant improvements in risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome, T2DM, and other cardiovascular diseases. These exercise protocols provide a viable exercise prescription specifically for risk factor reduction in overweight and obese children.