This paper reviews the use of exercise programs with obese children and adolescents. Studies included for review met two criteria: 1) children or adolescents were defined as obese using objective criteria for obesity, and 2) obese children or adolescents were provided either different types of exercise programs or an exercise program compared with a no-exercise control condition. Thirteen controlled outcome studies were identified. Experimental design, methods, and outcomes are presented and evaluated for each study. Factors that should be considered in research testing exercise interventions are discussed, including adherence, diet, age, gender, and type of exercise. In addition, the potential for exercise programs in the prevention of obesity in childhood and adolescence is discussed. The results support the continued use of exercise in combination with diet for child and adolescent obesity treatment, but the limited number of controlled studies indicates the need for more research in the area. The potential for exercise programs in the prevention of obesity in childhood and adolescence is discussed.
Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260
Submitted for publication February 1995.
Accepted for publication November 1995.
This paper was supported in part by grants HD RO1 23713, HD RO1 25997, and HD RO1 20829 awarded to the first author.
Address for correspondence: Leonard H. Epstein, Ph.D., Behavioral Medicine Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Park Hall, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260.