Effects of interventions with a physical activity component on bone health in obese children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Bone Miner Metab. 2018 Jan;36(1):12-30. doi: 10.1007/s00774-017-0858-z. Epub 2017 Aug 4.


Given the rise in pediatric obesity, clarifications on the relationship between obesity and bone health and on the impact of structured intervention on this relationship are needed. This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated the effect of obesity on bone health and assessed the effect of structured intervention in children and adolescents with obesity. Medline complete, OVID, CINAHL, EMBASE and PubMed databases were searched for studies on obesity and bone health variables up to September 2016, then an update occurred in March 2016. Search items included obesity, childhood, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and peripheral quantitative computed tomography. Twenty-three studies (14 cross-sectional and nine longitudinal) matched the inclusion criteria. Results from the meta-analysis (cross-sectional studies) confirmed that children and adolescents with obesity have higher bone content and density than their normal weight peers. Results from longitudinal studies remain inconclusive as only 50% of the included studies reported a positive effect of a structured intervention program on bone health. As such, the meta-analysis reported that structured intervention did not influence bone markers despite having beneficial effects on general health in youth with obesity.

Keywords: Bone mineral density; Growth; Pediatric obesity; Structured intervention.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adolescent
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Pediatric Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Regression Analysis