European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 177, Issue 7, pp 1019–1027 | Cite as

Effects of 28 weeks of high-intensity interval training during physical education classes on cardiometabolic risk factors in Chilean schoolchildren: a pilot trial

  • Pedro Delgado-Floody
  • Miguel Espinoza-Silva
  • Felipe García-Pinillos
  • Pedro Latorre-Román
Original Article


The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of 28 weeks of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) during physical education classes on the weight status, cardiorespiratory capacity, and blood pressure of overweight and obese schoolchildren. The participants included 197 schoolchildren (108 girls and 89 boys) aged between 6 and 11 years (8.39 ± 1.15 years) in four groups: experimental group 1 (EG1) = 59 overweight schoolchildren; experimental group 2 (EG2) = 92 obese schoolchildren; control group 1 (CG1) = 17 overweight children; and control group 2 (CG2) = 29 obese schoolchildren. The participants in the EGs carried out HIIT twice per week for 28 weeks. After the 28-week intervention, the participants showed significant reductions in body mass index (p < 0.001). Waist circumference of boys in EG2 and waist-to-height ratio of girls in EG2 was significantly reduced (p < 0.05). Body fat percentage diminished, for girls in both groups and boys in EG2 (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the program significantly reduced the number of hypertensive schoolchildren (p = 0.001) and reduced the percentage of obese schoolchildren. The distance covered in the 6-min walk test improved significantly for girls in EG1 and EG2 (p < 0.05) and boys in EG2.

Conclusions: The 28-week HIIT program caused significant improvements in the cardiorespiratory capacity, anthropometric variables, and blood pressure levels of overweight and obese children.

What is Known:

• High-intensity interval training (HIIT) programs improve health, but investigations have used relatively short intervention periods.

What is New:

• The 28-week period (a large intervention period) of HIIT-based games during physical education classes caused significant improvements in cardiorespiratory capacity, anthropometric variables, and blood pressure levels of overweight and obese schoolchildren.


Physical education Obesity Schoolchildren High-intensity interval training Health 



6-min walk test


Body fat


Body mass index


Control group


Diastolic blood pressure


Experimental group


High-intensity interval training


Heart rate


Physical activity


Physical education


Systolic blood pressure


Waist circumference


Waist-to-height ratio


Authors’ contributions

PDF contributed to the conception, organization and oversight of the study, the drafting of the analysis plan, the writing of the original manuscript draft, and final approval of the version to be published.

MES contributed to critical manuscript revision and final approval of the version to be published.

FGP contributed to critical manuscript revision and final approval of the version to be published.

PLR contributed to data analysis and interpretation, critical manuscript revision, and final approval of the version to be published.

Funding information

The research team wishes to thank the Plan for Motricity Intervention and to the Teaching Management Unit of the Municipality of Temuco (Temuco, Chile).

Compliance with ethical standards

The investigation complied with the 2013 Helsinki Declaration and was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Jaen (Spain).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

The parents signed an informed consent document before the investigation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro Delgado-Floody
    • 1
  • Miguel Espinoza-Silva
    • 1
  • Felipe García-Pinillos
    • 1
  • Pedro Latorre-Román
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physical Education, Sport and RecreationUniversidad de La FronteraTemucoChile
  2. 2.Department of Didactics of Corporal ExpressionUniversity of JaenJaenSpain

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