Background and objectives: Obesity is a chronic disease that requires good eating habits and an active life style. Obesity may start in childhood and continue until adulthood. Severely obese children have complications such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and atherosclerosis. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of exercise programs on anthropometric, metabolic, and cardiovascular parameters in obese children.
Subjects and methods: Fifty four obese children were included. Anthropometric data such as blood pressures, body mass index (BMI) and obesity index (OI) were measured. Blood glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), high sensitive-CRP (hs-CRP), brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (BaPWV) and ankle brachial index (ABI) were measured. Physical fitness measurements were done. Obese children were divided into three groups: an aerobic exercise group (n=16), a combined exercise group (n=20), and a control group (n=18). Obese children exercised in each program for 10 weeks while those in the control group maintained their former lifestyle. After 10 weeks, anthropometric data and cardiovascular parameters were compared with the data obtained before the exercise program.
Results: LDL-C, waist circumference, and systolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the aerobic exercise group compared to the control group (p<0.05). Waist circumference and systolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the combined exercise group compared to controls (p<0.05). Physical fitness level increased significantly after the exercise programs (p<0.05 vs. control). PWV did not show a significant change after exercise.
Conclusion: A short-term exercise program can play an important role in decreasing BMI, blood pressure, waist circumference, LDL-C and in improving physical fitness. Future investigations are now necessary to clarify the effectiveness of exercise on various parameters.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Exercise; Obesity.