(HealthDay News) – Interventions to increase physical activity in children and adolescents have little impact, according to research published online Sept 27 in BMJ.

Brad Metcalf, from Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry in Plymouth, U.K., and colleagues conducted a literature review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials or controlled clinical trials (cluster and individual) in which an intervention with a duration of at least four weeks was incorporated to increase the physical activity of children/adolescents.

The researchers found that, across all 30 studies included (involving 14,326 participants), the pooled intervention effect was small to negligible for total physical activity (standardized mean difference, 0.12; P<0.01) and small for moderate or vigorous activity (standardized mean difference, 0.16; P<0.001). There was no significant difference for the pooled intervention effect for any of the subgroups (total physical activity, body mass index, study duration, or home versus school-based interventions) in meta-regression.

“Physical activity interventions have little effect on the overall activity levels of children, which may explain, at least in part, why such interventions have had a limited effect on body mass index or body fat,” the authors write. “The outcome of this meta-analysis questions the contribution of physical activity to the prevention of childhood obesity.”

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