The heart challenge: The effect of regular aerobic exercise on body fat distribution in third and fourth grade school children: A randomized clinical trial
The pattern of body fat distribution known as "centralized", and characterized by a predominance of subcutaneous fat on the trunk and a "pot belly", has been associated with an increased risk of chronic disease. These patterns of fat distribution, as well as the lifestyle habit variables associated with adult fatness and chronic morbidity clearly begin to develop during childhood, indicating the need for intervention and primary prevention of obesity, particularly the centralized form, during childhood or adolescence. The purpose of this study was to determine whether regular aerobic exercise could beneficially alter the distribution of body fat in 8 and 9 year old children. One hundred and eighty-eight participants were randomized into either a regular aerobic exercise treatment group or a standard physical education program control group. A variety of aerobic activities was used for intervention 5 days per week during physical education class for a period of 12 weeks. Fat distribution was measured by a number of the most commonly used indices, including ratios of body circumferences and skinfolds and indices derived from a principal components analysis. Change over time in average pulse rate was used to determine if intervention actually occurred. Approximately 10% of the students were remeasured, allowing the calculation of intra- and interexaminer measurement reliability estimates for all indices.^ This study group was comparable to the U.S. population, though the study children were slightly larger for certain measures. No effect of the exercise intervention was found. The most likely explanation for this was inadequacy of the intervention, as indicated by the lack of any change in average pulse rate with treatment. The results of the measurement reliability analysis are reported and indicate that body circumference ratios are more precise than skinfold ratios, particularly when multiple observers are used. Reliability estimates for the principal component indices were also high.^ It remains unclear whether the distribution of body fat can be altered with exercise. It is likely that this issue will remain undecided until one highly reliable, valid, and sensitive measure of fat distribution can be found. ^
Health Sciences, Public Health
Kaplowitz, Haley Jo, "The heart challenge: The effect of regular aerobic exercise on body fat distribution in third and fourth grade school children: A randomized clinical trial" (1988). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8914295.