Physical activity in the therapy of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. Needs and recommendations for intervention programs

Dev Period Med. 2017;21(3):224-234. doi: 10.34763/devperiodmed.20172103.224234.


Overweight and obesity may lead to serious health problems, and negatively affect everyday functioning in physical, psychological and social spheres. The high prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents constitutes a huge public health burden. One way of designing and implementing behavioral interventions aimed at the reduction of adipose tissue is to promote physical activity. In this review we present recommendations regarding the planning, monitoring and implementation of intervention programs involving controlled physical activity. Considering specific individual determinants and needs in terms of improving children's health, physical condition and physical performance, we have separately discussed recommendations for interventions involving aerobic and anaerobic exercises with moderate and high intensity, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT). We have also focused on the role of resistance training. Finally, we have emphasized that children and adolescents with overweight or obesity should also be motivated to undertake activities referred to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).

Keywords: aerobic training; anaerobic training; exercise; resistance training; youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / organization & administration
  • Child Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise Therapy / organization & administration*
  • Exercise*
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • High-Intensity Interval Training / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Pediatric Obesity / prevention & control
  • Pediatric Obesity / therapy*