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For obese teen girls, aerobic exercise may trump resistance training in health benefits

Bethesda, Md. (Nov. 7, 2013)Obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the United States in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The growing rate of childhood obesity is a major health concern since overweight and obese youth are at increased risk of developing several diseases once considered reserved for adults. These new pediatric diseases include type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat builds up in the liver, potentially impairing its function over time. Although both diet and exercise have been considered as first lines to treat childhood obesity, SoJung Lee of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and her colleagues recently showed that when obese adolescent boys increased physical activity alone, they improved several markers of health. These include reducing total fat, fat packed around organs in the abdomen (known as visceral fat, a risk factor for diabetes), and liver fat, and improving fitness of their heart and lungs.

To see if physical activity might work in the same way for obese adolescent girls, Lee and her colleagues performed a new study that compared the health effects of two different types of exerciseaerobic exercise and weight liftingover three months to remaining sedentary. Although their results show beneficial effects for both types of exercise, the researchers found that girls who performed aerobic exercise, but not weight lifting, had significant reductions in visceral fat and liver fat, as well as improvements in insulin sensitivity, another risk factor for diabetes that's linked with obesity.

The article is entitled "Aerobic Exercise But Not Resistance Exercise Reduces Intrahepatic Lipid Content and Visceral Fat and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Obese Adolescent Girls". It appears i

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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