What is the Most Effective Form of Exercise for Obese Youth?

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May be more effective than other types of exercise for improving blood pressure, aerobic capacity levels
May be more effective than other types of exercise for improving blood pressure, aerobic capacity levels

HealthDay News — For obese youth, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) appears to be more effective for improving blood pressure and aerobic capacity than other forms of exercise, according to a meta-analysis published online March 7 in Obesity Reviews.

Antonio García-Hermoso, PhD, from the Universidad de Santiago de Chile in Santiago, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effectiveness of HIIT interventions on cardiometabolic risk factors and aerobic capacity in overweight and obese youth. Data were included from nine studies involving 274 6- to 17-year-olds.

The researchers found that compared with other forms of exercise, 4- to 12-week HIIT interventions correlated with larger decreases in systolic blood pressure (−3.63 mm Hg) and greater increases in maximum oxygen uptake (1.92 ml/kg/min). The type of comparison group and study duration were moderators.

"In summary, this meta-analysis provides insight into the higher effectiveness of short-term HIIT interventions on improving aerobic capacity and blood pressure, especially as compared to moderate-intensity continuous training, and especially with interventions that last more than 12 weeks," the authors write. "A study has reported that HIIT is perceived as a more enjoyable exercise compared to other exercise modalities, which would have implications for participation in adherence to this type of activity, which could favor greater autonomous motivation."

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