Exercise Is Best Rx for Obese Children

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

A study from the United Kingdom ofextremely obese children showed that,after a 14-week aerobic exercise program,the children felt better about themselvesand their bodies. The study included81 obese children aged 11 to 16 years;18 of the children were morbidly obese.Of the study sample, 30% scored high ona depression test and 27% reported havingrecent thoughts of suicide. The childrenwere divided into 2 groups: half hadone-on-one sessions with a personaltrainer for 8 weeks, followed by a homeexercise program for 6 weeks that includedcycling, walking, and rowing. Thisgroup also received behavioral changecounseling. The other participants, considereda placebo group, took part in nonstrenuousactivities such as darts and billiardsand received no counseling.Researchers said that having a placebogroup allowed them to separate out theeffects of exercise. Throughout the programand after its conclusion, children inthe exercise group scored higher on testsgauging their sense of physical and globalself-worth. Up to 14 weeks after theprogram ended, children in the exercisegroup remained significantly more activethan those in the placebo group. Despitethe fact that the children did not loseweight, the effects of being physicallyactive on a regular basis could result inweight loss in the long term. Researcherssaid the next step is to make interventionsmore accessible to children. Thereport appeared in the November 2006issue of Pediatrics.

Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.