Influence of exclusive resistance training on body composition and cardiovascular risk factors in overweight and obese children and adolescents: A systematic review update

Pavel Dietz, Michael Ornik, Estelle Watson, Mireille van Poppel


Purpose: The aim of the present systematic review was to update a previous review, aiming at investigating the effects of exclusive resistance training on body composition and cardiovascular risk factors for obese or overweight children and adolescents and to report the efficiency of whole-body strength training in weight management and obesity prevention during adolescence. Method: Intervention studies that performed isolated resistance training with overweight or obese children and adolescents under 18 years of age were systematically reviewed. Body composition and cardiovascular risk factors constituted as the outcome measurements. Results: Five studies passed the inclusion criteria. All participants in treatment groups undertook supervised whole-body resistance training. The mean compliance was 87%. Four studies reported significant changes in body composition, with a decrease in mass, percentage body fat, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio as well as a significant increase in fat free mass. Three studies analysed the effects on cardiovascular risk factors and two reported significant changes with a decrease in systolic blood pressure and IL-6 as well as a significant increase in adiponectin. Conclusion: A strength training intervention appears safe and tends to show positive effects for obese adolescents. Several significant changes were observed. A lack of studies and a small sample size of participants conducting an isolated strength training intervention made a safe interpretation difficult. Due to this, more studies are needed to analyse the role of exclusive resistance training in weight management for obese adolescents and its influence on cardiovascular risk factors.


adiposity, heart disease, prevention, youth, weight training, exercise, adolescents

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