Sports Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 8, pp 1139–1152 | Cite as

Physical Activity in Overweight and Obese Adolescents: Systematic Review of the Effects on Physical Fitness Components and Cardiovascular Risk Factors

  • Fabrício Vasconcellos
  • André Seabra
  • Peter T. Katzmarzyk
  • Luiz Guilherme Kraemer-Aguiar
  • Eliete Bouskela
  • Paulo FarinattiEmail author
Systematic Review



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.


Physical Activity Body Composition Endothelial Function Physical Fitness Physical Activity Intervention 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



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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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabrício Vasconcellos
    • 1
    • 2
  • André Seabra
    • 2
  • Peter T. Katzmarzyk
    • 3
  • Luiz Guilherme Kraemer-Aguiar
    • 4
    • 5
  • Eliete Bouskela
    • 5
  • Paulo Farinatti
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Physical Education and Sports, Laboratory of Physical Activity and Health PromotionState University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Centre of Research, Education, Innovation and Intervention in Sport, Faculty of SportUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Pennington Biomedical Research CenterLouisiana State University SystemBaton RougeUSA
  4. 4.Internal Medicine, Medical Sciences FacultyState University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  5. 5.Clinical and Experimental Research Laboratory on Vascular Biology, Biomedical CenterState University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  6. 6.Physical Activity Sciences Graduate ProgramSalgado de Oliveira UniversityNiteróiBrazil

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