The feasibility of a home-based moderate-intensity physical activity intervention in obese children and adolescents

The purpose of this study was to explore the feasibility of conducting a 10-week home-based physical activity (PA) programme and evaluate the changes in insulin sensitivity (SI) commensurate with the programme in obese young people. 18 obese children and adolescents (8–18 years, 11 girls/7 boys) were recruited. 15 participants completed the intervention. The programme comprised biweekly home visits over 10 weeks with personalised plans implemented aiming to increase moderate-intensity PA. Pedometers and PA diaries were used as self-monitoring tools. The goals were to (1) teach participants behavioural skills related to adopting and maintaining an active lifestyle and (2) increase daily participation in PA. Mean steps/day were assessed. SI assessed by the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test and other components of the insulin resistance syndrome were measured. Mean steps/day increased significantly from 10 363±927 (baseline) to 13 013±1131. SI was also significantly increased, despite no change in BMI-SDS, and remained so after an additional 10-week follow-up.

The results suggest that such a home-based PA programme is feasible. SI improved without changes in BMI-SDS. More rigorous evaluations of such programmes are warranted.

Conwell, L. S, Trost, S. G, Spence, L., Brown, W. J, Batch, J. A. The feasibility of a home-based moderate-intensity physical activity intervention in obese children and adolescents. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2010;44:250-255

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