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Medicina dello Sport 2018 September;71(3):451-60

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.18.03285-4


language: English, Italian

Anthropometrical and fitness level changes following a 12-week walking football program for obese primary school children aged 8-11

Zulkarnain JAAFAR 1 , Jeffrey KEE 1, Haireen ABDUL HADI 2, Nur A. AHMAD TAJUDDIN 2

1 Department of Sports Medicine, University Malaya Medical Center, Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 2 Department of Primary Care Medicine, University Malaya Medical Center, Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


BACKGROUND: Many children are currently adopting a sedentary lifestyle at a very young age, making the obesity in children increase at an alarming rate. Walking is the most accessible type of physical activity as it is safe and its benefits are similar to exercise. The researchers introduced a walking football game to obese primary school children with the aim of gathering pilot data on the changes in the anthropometrical and fitness level throughout the 12-week program.
METHODS: This was a cohort repeated-measures study involving 32 healthy male school children aged 8-11-year-old with the BMI of more than 21 kg/m2 (>95th centile) from 8 primary schools around Petaling Jaya. The subjects were instructed to train in a multiple short 6-a-side semi-structured moderate-intensity walking football training sessions for 75 minutes each week. Anthropometry, body composition, and 6-minute walk test were measured at the baseline and after the program ended.
RESULTS: There was a significant increase in the mean weight, BMI, muscle mass and 6-minute walk test distance post-intervention, P<0.001. Even though there was a reduction in the body fat percentage, it was not statistically significant P>0.05. It was also noted that there was an inverse moderate strength correlation between age and fat mass (r -0.458, P<0.01), body fat percentage (r -0.448, P<0.05), and a moderately positive correlation between age and muscle mass (r 0.395, P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates positive outcomes on the anthropometrical and fitness changes among the obese school children participating in a 12-week walking football program, a low impact moderate-intensity exercise. The cost-effectiveness of walking football suggests its feasibility to be implemented nationwide to combat the rising problems of inactivity and childhood obesity.

KEY WORDS: Obesity - Children - Walking - Football - Walk test - Body composition

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