A randomized controlled trial of coordination exercise on cognitive function in obese adolescents

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Abstract

Objective:

Whether the beneficial effect of coordination exercise on executive function extends to obese adolescents remains understudied and no study to date has examined the effect of exercise on food-cue related executive function. The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to investigate the effects of a coordination exercise program on executive function in obese adolescents.

Design:

A randomized controlled trial.

Methods:

Eighty obese adolescents were randomly assigned to a 12-week coordination exercise program or a waitlist control group and data from 70 participants (n = 35 for each group) were analyzed. The after-school exercise program involving a multifaceted moderate-intensity jump rope program performed twice weekly for 75 min per session. The primary outcome of normal and food-cue related Stroop task performance was assessed prior to and following the intervention. Secondary outcomes included physical fitness and body mass index (BMI).

Results:

The coordination exercise intervention improved both normal and food-cue related cognitive function. Similar beneficial effects were also found for physical fitness and BMI. However, pre-to-post intervention change in physical fitness and BMI did not significantly mediate enhanced cognitive and executive function performance.

Conclusion:

In obese adolescents, a coordination exercise intervention is an effective approach to improve multiple aspects of cognitive function while enhancing physical fitness and reducing obesity. These findings also suggest a possible role of cognitive inhibition in exercise-associated weight loss among obese adolescents.

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