Physical Activity as Treatment for Obesity

  • Elissa Jelalian
  • Amy Sato
Part of the Issues in Children's and Families' Lives book series (IICL, volume 12)


The last two decades has seen a dramatic increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among all segments of the US population, including children, adolescents, and adults (Ogden, Carroll, & Flegal, 2008). While these increases have been observed across the population, ethnic minority groups have been impacted differentially (Ogden et al., 2008). Given the increased prevalence of obesity, considerable attention has been focused on models of intervention for this challenging concern. This chapter focuses on the role of physical activity in the treatment of obesity, with an emphasis on interventions with pediatric samples. In particular, we provide an overview of pediatric obesity treatment approaches, discuss the potential mechanisms through which physical activity impacts outcome, present a review of interventions that include manipulation of physical activity, and conclude with recommendations for best practices and future research directions. While our focus is on the importance of physical activity for pediatric weight control, a number of concepts are illustrated through research conducted with adults. The reader is referred to several excellent reviews for consideration of physical activity as a component of weight control interventions for adults (Donnelly et al., 2009; Jakicic, 2006).


Physical Activity Resistance Training Sedentary Behavior Weight Control Screen Time 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychiatry and Human BehaviorBrown Medical SchoolProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyKent State UniversityKentUSA

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