Study determines best exercise regimen for obese youth!

SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) According to the Center for Disease Control, it is estimated that 70 percent of obese youth are more likely to be diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. (1)

Resistance training and aerobic exercise produce significant results in reducing teen obesity!

A new study analyzed several exercise programs to determine which program would best help reduce teen obesity.  According to the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, combining aerobic exercise with resistance training showed the best results. (2)

A research team at the University of Calgary and the University of Ottawa led the Healthy Eating Aerobic and Resistance Training in Youth (HEARTY) study. The study involved 304 overweight teens between the ages of 14-18.  Each teen was provided four weeks of diet counseling to teach healthy eating and weight loss information, prior to being randomly divided into four groups.  The first group performed resistance training that involved weight machines and free weights.  The second group performed only aerobic exercise using treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes.  The third group completed aerobic and resistance training and the last group completed no exercise training. (2)

In the study population, each type of exercise reduced body fat significantly and all three exercise programs caused more fat loss than the diet-only group.  Youth who completed at least 70 percent of their exercise sessions among those who were in the resistance and aerobic exercise group experienced a significant decrease in body fat in comparison to the other exercise groups. (2)

Teens who completed resistance training paired with aerobic exercise decreased waist circumference by seven centimeters!

Dr. Kenny, of the University of Ottawa reports: “Remarkably, among participants who completed at least 70 percent of the prescribed exercise sessions, waist circumference decreased close to seven centimeters in those randomized to combined aerobic plus resistance exercise, versus about four centimeters in those randomized to do just one type of exercise, with no change in those randomized to diet alone.” (3)

“We saw reductions of five to six pounds in terms of fat mass loss. There was greater reduction in body fat and in waist circumference. All of these are very important factors in that they help reduce the risk of developing diabetes, childhood obesity, etc.” Kenny said. (3)

Each teen was supervised by personal trainers and was asked to train four times per week for 22 weeks at community facilities.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines were used to measure the changes in body fat.(2)

Aerobic exercises can be challenging for people who are overweight, resistance training was more appealing and strength gains came more quickly than aerobic gains, allowing participants to see progress.(2)

Researchers hope that this research will empower teens and educators to develop long-term strategies that may help teens become healthy.  It is estimated that 80 percent of obese teens continue to be obese in adulthood. (2)


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