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Original articles  EPIDEMIOLOGY AND CLINICAL MEDICINE 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2007 September;47(3):344-50

Copyright © 2007 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Physical activity and endurance in normal weight versus overweight boys and girls

Haerens L. 1, Deforche B. 1, Maes L. 2, Cardon G. 1, De Bourdeaudhuij I. 1

1 Department of Movement and Sports Sciences Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium 2 Department of Public Health Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium


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Aim. Some studies found lower levels of physical activity and fitness in overweight children, compared to normal weight children, while others have failed to observe any difference. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to reinvestigate the differences in physical activity and running capacity between overweight and normal weight children.
Methods. A random sample of 121 males and 101 females, 11 to 13 years old, was selected. Children were divided into overweight/fat and normal weight/fat groups based on measures of body mass index and percentage of body fat. Physical activity level was assessed by accelerometers and a Physical Activity Questionnaire. Running capacity was measured by the Cooper Test.
Results. Accelerometer data revealed that overweight/fat children were less moderate to vigorous physically active when compared to normal weight/fat children. They also performed worse on the running capacity test (P<0.001). Overweight children reported to be less active in leisure time (P<0.05) compared to normal weight children. Overfat girls reported to participate less in sports activities compared to normal fat girls (P<0.05).
Conclusion. The present study found clear differences in physical activity and running capacity between overweight/fat and normal weight/fat 11- to 13-year olds. A major strength of the present study is that similar results were shown based on different estimates of overweight and activity in a relatively large sample of children.

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