Physical Activity in Overweight and Obese Adolescents: Systematic Review of the Effects on Physical Fitness Components and Cardiovascular Risk Factors
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The increasing prevalence of obesity in the pediatric age range has become a major concern. Studies have investigated the role of physical activity (PA) to prevent obesity in this population. However, previous reviews did not focus on the effects of PA in overweight/obese adolescents on physical fitness and risk factors for cardiovascular disease altogether.
The present systematic review analyzed trials investigating the effect of PA on aerobic capacity, muscle strength, body composition, hemodynamic variables, biochemical markers, and endothelial function in obese/overweight adolescents.
PubMed, LILACS, Web of Science, Scopus (including Embase), and SPORTDiscus databases were searched for relevant reports without time limits. Inclusion criteria included studies published in English, with overweight and obese adolescents aged 12–17 years. The review was registered (Number CRD42013004632) on PROSPERO, the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews.
The results indicated that PA is associated with significant and beneficial changes in fat percentage, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, insulin, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and total cholesterol, as well as with small non-significant changes in diastolic blood pressure, glucose, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Although limited, results from controlled trials suggest that PA intervention may improve physical fitness and risk factors for cardiovascular disease in adolescents who are overweight or obese.
KeywordsPhysical Activity Body Composition Endothelial Function Physical Fitness Physical Activity Intervention
This study was partially supported by the Carlos Chagas Filho Foundation for the Research Support in Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) and by the Brazilian Council for the Research Development (CNPq). The authors have no conflicts of interest directly relevant to the contents of this review. The authors thank Ingrid Dias, Felipe Cunha, Rafael Montenegro, and Renato Massaferri for the valuable comments and suggestions on this manuscript.
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