Effects of aerobic exercise and resistance exercise on physical indexes and cardiovascular risk factors in obese and overweight school-age children: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Tianhao Chen, Jingxia Lin, Yuzhe Lin, Lin Xu, Dian Lu, Fangping Li, Lihao Hou, Clare Chung Wah Yu (Corresponding Author)

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Background Obesity is a serious social and public health problem in the world, especially in children and adolescents. For school-age children with obesity, this stage is in the transition from childhood to adolescence, and both physical, psychological, and external environments will be full of challenges. Studies have showed that school-age children are the largest proportion of people who continue to be obese in adulthood. Physical exercise is considered as an effective way to control weight. Therefore, we focus on this point to study which factors will be improved to reduce childhood obesity. Objective To assess the effects of aerobic and resistance exercise on physical indexes, such as body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage, and cardiovascular risk factors such as VO2peak, triglycerides (TG) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), total cholesterol (TC), insulin and insulin resistance in school-age children who are overweight or obese. Method PubMed, SPORTDiscus, Medline, Cochrane-Library, Scopus, Ovid and Web of Science were searched to locate studies published between 2000 and 2021 in obese and overweight school-age children between 6-12 years old. The articles are all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and in English. Data were synthesized using a random-effect or a fixed-effect model to analyze the effects of aerobic and resistance exercise on six elements in in school-age children with overweight or obese. The primary outcome measures were set for BMI. Results A total of 13 RCTs (504 participants) were identified. Analysis of the between-group showed that aerobic and resistance exercise were effective in improving BMI (MD = -0.66; p < 0.00001), body fat percentage (MD = -1.29; p = 0.02), TG (std.MD = -1.14; p = 0.005), LDL (std.MD = -1.38; p = 0.003), TC (std.MD = -0.77; p = 0.002), VO2peak (std.MD = 1.25; p = 0.001). However, aerobic and resistance exercise were not significant in improving HDL (std.MD = 0.13; p = 0.27). Conclusions Aerobic exercise and resistance exercise are associated with improvement in BMI, body fat percentage, VO2peak, TG, LDL, TC, while not in HDL in school-age children with obesity or overweight. Insulin and insulin resistance were not able to be analyzed in our review. However, there are only two articles related to resistance exercise in children with obesity and overweight at school age, which is far less than the number of 12 articles about aerobic exercise, so we cannot compare the effects of the two types of exercises.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0257150
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9 September
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2021

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