Sport-based physical activity intervention on body weight in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis

J Sports Sci. 2017 Feb;35(4):369-376. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1166389. Epub 2016 Mar 28.


Controversial results reported in past research pertaining to the effectiveness of sport-based physical activity interventions on weight loss. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of sport-based physical activity intervention on body weight in children and adolescents using a meta-analysis. Academic Search Complete, Education Source, ERIC, Medline, ProQuest, PsycINFO and SportDiscus databases were searched from January 2000 to April 2015. Eighteen studies met following inclusion criteria: sport-based intervention studies; subjects aged 6-18 years; reported body weight; published in peer-reviewed journals written in English. The mean intervention duration was 17.72 weeks. The overall effect size (ES) was 0.52 (Cohen's d (ES) = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.08, 0.95, P = 0.021), using a random effects model. Moderator analyses results showed that the Q statistic for the sport type (individual sport or team sport, Qbetween (Qb) = 14.52, df = 1, P = 0.001) and diet control (Qbetween (Qb) = 8.85, df = 1, P = 0.001), explained the heterogeneity of ESs. Our study showed that there was a moderate overall effect of sport-based physical activity intervention on body weight reduction. The team sport type (ES = 1.05, 95% CI = 0.44, 1.66) and diet control group (ES = 0.84, 95% CI = 0.26, 1.41) appeared to be more effective in reducing body weight.

Keywords: Sport-based physicalactivity; body weight; intervention; meta-analysis; obesity.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Sports*
  • Weight Loss*