Effects of vigorous walking and moderate calorie reduction in pre-adolescent subjects : a 10-week study
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The incidence of obesity in the pre—adolescent stage of growth is increasing in the United States population. Therefore, this age group should be the target for obesity prevention measures of increasing exercise and making nutritionally optimal food choices. Thirty-eight preadolescents, ages 10-13 volunteered to be measured anthropometrically before, during and after a 10-week walking program. Subjects walked vigorously to music five days per week for 30 minutes after school. A warm-up and cool-down, and taking target heart rates were also part of the daily routine during the 10 weeks. Fifty percent remained in the study. Of those remaining, 66 percent were below normal weight, 22 percent were average, and the other 11 percent were overweight or obese. There was no significant weight loss; however, the triceps skinfolds showed meaningful decreases in fat, but these were not statistically significant. There was an improvement in pre-study mile-run scores and final scores. This improvement was seen as an indication of improved physical fitness. There was no correlation with days walked and hunger/satiety rating. The hunger scores appear to be irregular, and their validity was questionable. Mean calorie consumption was 1362 Calories, which is below the recommended level for this stage of growth. Accuracy of the food record may be problematic with this age group. Exercise is a necessary component toward achieving fitness. The combination of diet and exercise appears to be the most successful method for reducing body fat in the population. Goals for future research should focus on involving a more obese population, and perhaps younger age groups to obtain the best results in preventing high levels of body fat development. The key is starting early enough to shape the future of the obese child, fated for an obese adulthood.