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Impaired physical function associated with childhood obesity: how should we intervene?


Tsiros, MD and Buckley, JD and Olds, T and Howe, PR and Hills, AP and Walkley, J and Wood, R and Kagawa, M and Shield, A and Taylor, L and Shultz, SP and Grimshaw, PN and Grigg, K and Coates, AM, Impaired physical function associated with childhood obesity: how should we intervene?, Childhood Obesity, 12, (2) pp. 126-134. ISSN 2153-2168 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc

DOI: doi:10.1089/chi.2015.0123


Background: This study examined relationships between adiposity, physical functioning, and physical activity.

Methods: Obese (N = 107) and healthy-weight (N = 132) children aged 1013 years underwent assessments of percent body fat (%BF, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry); knee extensor strength (KE, isokinetic dynamometry); cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF, peak oxygen uptake by cycle ergometry); physical health-related quality of life (HRQOL); and worst pain intensity and walking capacity [six-minute walk (6MWT)]. Structural equation modelling was used to assess relationships between variables.

Results: Moderate relationships were observed between %BF and (1) 6MWT, (2) KE strength corrected for mass, and (3) CRF relative to mass (r −0.36 to −0.69, p ≤ 0.007). Weak relationships were found between %BF and physical HRQOL (r −0.27, p = 0.008); CRF relative to mass and physical HRQOL (r −0.24, p = 0.003); physical activity and 6MWT (r 0.17, p = 0.004). Squared multiple correlations showed that 29.6% variance in physical HRQOL was explained by %BF, pain, and CRF relative to mass; while 28.0% variance in 6MWT was explained by %BF and physical activity.

Conclusions: It appears that children with a higher body fat percentage have poorer KE strength, CRF, and overall physical functioning. Reducing percent fat appears to be the best target to improve functioning. However, a combined approach to intervention, targeting reductions in body fat percentage, reductions in pain, and improvements in physical activity and CRF may assist physical functioning.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Public health
Research Field:Community child health
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Neonatal and child health
UTAS Author:Hills, AP (Professor Andrew Hills)
ID Code:109139
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-05-27
Last Modified:2017-12-22

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