Responses of Lean and Obese Boys to Repeated Summer Exercise in the Heat Bouts

DOUGHERTY, KELLY A.1; CHOW, MOSUK2; KENNEY, W. LARRY1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2009 - Volume 41 - Issue 2 - pp 279-289
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318185d341
Clinical Sciences

Purpose: To determine the degree of natural acclimatization and artificially induced acclimation-related changes during repeated exercise in the heat bouts in seven lean and seven obese 9- to 12-yr-old boys during summer months.

Methods: Beginning at random times during the summer, subjects underwent a 70-min exercise (30% V˙O2max) in the heat exposure (38°C, 50% relative humidity) on six separate days.

Results: On day 1, obese children were less naturally acclimatized as indicated by significantly higher baseline core temperatures (Tc) (obese = 37.62 ± 0.06 vs lean = 37.41 ± 0.06; P < 0.004). By day 6 versus day 1, significant reductions in baseline Tc were evident in both groups (obese = 37.41 ± 0.04 vs lean = 37.18 ± 0.04; both P < 0.05). Baseline Tc in obese subjects by day 6 was similar to that of lean subjects on day 1. Daily reductions in exercise Tc were evident in both groups (final exercising Tc day 1 vs day 6: obese = 38.15 ± 0.05 vs 37.89 ± 0.05; lean = 38.17 ± 0.09 vs 37.72 ± 0.06°C; both P < 0.001), occurring at a significantly slower rate in obese subjects (final exercise Tc day 6 − day 1: obese vs lean = −0.26 ± 0.04 vs −0.45 ± 0.08°C; P < 0.05). Significant reductions in exercising heart rate (HR) occurred in the lean but not the obese subjects by day 6 (final exercising HR day 1 vs day 6: obese = 132 ± 3 vs 131 ± 3, P > 0.05; lean = 138 ± 3 vs 127 ± 3 bpm; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: During summer months, obese children are less naturally heat-acclimatized and subsequently acclimate at a slower rate.

1Noll Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; and 2Department of Statistics, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Address for correspondence: Kelly A. Dougherty, The Pennsylvania State University, 229 Noll Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802-6900; E-mail: kellydoc35@aol.com.

Submitted for publication April 2008.

Accepted for publication July 2008.

©2009The American College of Sports Medicine