Pi Phi Chapter

Physical Activity as an Independent Predictor of Improved Insulin Sensitivity in Overweight Children

Nursing Research on the Green

2012 Abstract

Anneliese K. Bauer BSN, RN, MSN-Student
Viterbo University

  • Background: Poor physical fitness and increased sedentary activity among children are contributing to an escalation in pediatric obesity.
  • Significance: As a result, children are developing increasingly more comorbidities at an early age. One of these conditions; insulin resistance, is a precursor to diabetes.
  • Purpose/objective: This integrative review of literature was conducted to answer the following research question: What has the greatest impact of reducing metabolic risk in the pediatric population, increasing physical activity or measurable changes in body mass index or body composition alone?
  • Methods: Electronic databases were searched for peer reviewed randomized controlled trials and cross-sectional studies measuring fasting insulin and glucose levels, maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max) and anthropometric measurements at baseline and post intervention in children ages 8-18. Fourteen articles met inclusion criteria.
  • Results: Both an increase in physical activity and measurable changes in body composition were shown to be independent factors for improving insulin resistance. Improvement in physical activity as measured by VO2 max showed the greatest effect on improving insulin resistance and sensitivity than measurable changes in body composition alone.
  • Clinical Implications: Realistic and achievable strategy to reduce metabolic risk in children. Help clinicians develop interventions aimed at preventing children from lifelong health problems such as diabetes.

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