WASHINGTON — Children who participated in a 1-hour physical activity program before school had improved BMI and reduced risk for overweight or obesity compared with children who did not participate in a physical activity program, according to a presenter here.
“One target for obesity prevention is physical activity,” Rachel C. Whooten, MD, a pediatric health services research fellow and pediatric endocrinology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, said during her presentation. “Physical activity has roles in improving health, and some other benefits include improving academic performance, decreasing depressive symptoms and improving self-esteem and self-worth.”
Whooten and colleagues evaluated 1,229 children (mean age, 9.3 years) from 24 elementary and middle schools in three Massachusetts communities to determine the extent to which a 12-week before-school physical activity program contributed to BMI and prevented overweight and obesity during the 2015 to 2016 school year.
Children whose parents registered them for the Build Our Kids’ Success (BOKS) program were assigned to 2 days per week (n = 274) or 3 days per week (n = 151) of 1-hour of physical activity before school. A control group of 282 students who did not participate in the program was included for comparison.
At baseline and 12 weeks, all participants had their height and weight measured by study staff members. Outcomes were 12-week changes in BMI and odds of being in a lower BMI category at follow-up.
Mean adjusted BMI improved from 19.96 kg/m2 at baseline to 18.89 kg/m2 at 12 weeks in the 3 days per week group for an improvement of -1.06 kg/m2, which was significantly different from the control group.
Participants in the BOKS program were also more likely to be in a lower BMI category at follow-up vs. baseline compared with the control group (OR = 1.88; 95% CI, 1.02-3.46).
No effects were found on BMI or BMI category in participants of the 2 days per week program.
“This study shows that before-school physical activity programs can have a positive health impact,” Whooten said. “This supports the role of moderate to high physical activity for obesity intervention.” – by Amber Cox
Whooten RC. T-OR-2039. Presented at: ObesityWeek 2017; Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 2017; Washington, D.C.
Disclosure: Whooten reports she has a contracted research relationship with the Reebok Foundation.