Exercise training in overweight and obese children: Recreational football and high‐intensity interval training provide similar benefits to physical fitness

Published on Aug 1, 2018in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports3.631
· DOI :10.1111/sms.13241
Nemanja Cvetkovic2
Estimated H-index: 2
(University of Niš),
Emilija Stojanović5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of Niš)
+ 3 AuthorsZoran Milanović14
Estimated H-index: 14
(University of Niš)
This study compared the effects of recreational football and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on body composition, muscular fitness, and cardiorespiratory fitness in overweight and obese children. Forty-two overweight/obese males aged 11-13 years [body mass index (BMI) >20.5 kg/m2 ] were randomly assigned to a recreational football training group (n = 14; 157.9 ± 5.8 cm; 63.7 ± 12.6 kg), HIIT group (n = 14; 163.8 ± 9.4 cm; 71.5 ± 10.5 kg), or nontraining control group (n = 14; 162.7 ± 9.3 cm; 67.4 ± 16.1 kg). Physical fitness components were measured at baseline and after 12 weeks of training at the same time of the day and under similar conditions, including body composition, muscular fitness (lower-body power, change-of-direction speed, and flexibility), and cardiovascular fitness (Yo-Yo Intermittent Endurance test distance, resting heart rate, and blood pressure). Lean body mass (4.3%, ES = 0.40; 95% CI: -0.48, 1.29; P = .382) and muscle mass 4.4% (ES = 0.40; 95% CI: -0.48, 1.29; P = .378) very likely increased in the recreational football group, while possible improvements were observed in the HIIT group (lean body mass: 2.5%, ES = 0.22; 95% CI: -0.62, 1.06; P = .607, muscle mass: 2.8%, ES = 0.23; 95% CI: -0.61, 1.07; P = .594). Only trivial increases were observed in the control group for lean body mass (0.5%, ES = 0.05; 95% CI: -0.70, 0.79; P = .906) and muscle mass (1.1%, ES = 0.09; 95% CI: -0.65, 0.83; P = .814). Significant differences were found between the recreational football and control groups in post-training body mass (P = .034) and body mass index (P = .017). Body fat very likely decreased in the recreational football group (-7.7%, ES = -0.41; 95% CI: -1.29, 0.48; P = .376) and possibly decreased in the HIIT group (-5.2%, ES = -0.22; 95% CI: -1.05, 0.62; P = .607), with a trivial reduction in the control group (-1.1%, ES = -0.04; 95% CI: -0.78, 0.70; P = .914). Very likely increases in lower-body power were evident in the recreational football (17.0%, ES = 0.76; 95% CI: -0.15, 1.66; P = .107) and control groups (16.1%, ES = 0.55; 95% CI: -0.20, 1.31; P = .156), while small improvements were observed in the HIIT group (6.0%, ES = 0.24; 95% CI: -0.60, 1.08; P = .580, possible). Likely to most likely improvements in Yo-Yo Intermittent Endurance test performance and change-of-direction speed were noted in the recreational football group (Yo-Yo: 79.8%, ES = 1.09; 95% CI: 0.16, 2.03; P = .025, change-of-direction speed: -10.6%, ES = -1.05; 95% CI: -1.98, -0.12; P = .031) and the HIIT group (Yo-Yo: 81.2%, ES = 1.03; 95% CI: 0.15, 1.92; P = .025, change-of-direction speed: -5.4%, ES = -0.91; 95% CI: -1.79, -0.04; P = .045). Diastolic blood pressure likely decreased in the recreational football (-8.6%, ES = -0.74; 95% CI: -1.64, 0.17; P = .116) and HIIT groups (-9.8%, ES = -0.57; 95% CI: -1.40, 0.30; P = .195), with a possible increase in the control group (1.2%, ES = 0.21; 95% CI: -0.53, 0.96; P = .068). Recreational football and HIIT elicited improvements in all muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness measures. In contrast, the control group, which performed only physical education classes, increased body mass, BMI, and fat mass. Therefore, additional activities such as recreational football or HIIT might counter the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children.
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