Team sports for overweight children: the Stanford Sports to Prevent Obesity Randomized Trial (SPORT)

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008 Mar;162(3):232-7. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2007.43.


Objective: To evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of an after-school team sports program for reducing weight gain in low-income overweight children.

Design: Six-month, 2-arm, parallel-group, pilot randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Low-income, racial/ethnic minority community.

Participants: Twenty-one children in grades 4 and 5 with a body mass index at or above the 85th percentile.

Interventions: The treatment intervention consisted of an after-school soccer program. The "active placebo" control intervention consisted of an after-school health education program.

Main outcome measures: Implementation, acceptability, body mass index, physical activity measured using accelerometers, reported television and other screen time, self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and weight concerns.

Results: All 21 children completed the study. Compared with children receiving health education, children in the soccer group had significant decreases in body mass index z scores at 3 and 6 months and significant increases in total daily, moderate, and vigorous physical activity at 3 months.

Conclusion: An after-school team soccer program for overweight children can be a feasible, acceptable, and efficacious intervention for weight control.

Trial registration: NCT00186173.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Overweight / prevention & control*
  • Poverty
  • Soccer* / physiology
  • Soccer* / psychology
  • Social Support
  • Weight Gain

Associated data