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The feasibility of a home-based moderate-intensity physical activity intervention in obese children and adolescents
  1. Louise S Conwell1,2,
  2. Stewart G Trost3,4,
  3. Luke Spence3,
  4. Wendy J Brown3,
  5. Jennifer A Batch1,2
  1. 1Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Australia
  4. 4Department of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Louise S Conwell, Staff Endocrinologist, Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal Children's Hospital, Herston, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; louise_conwell{at}


Objectives To explore the feasibility of conducting a 10-week home-based physical activity (PA) programme and evaluate the changes in insulin sensitivity (SI) commensurate with the programme in obese young people.

Design Open-labelled intervention.

Setting Home-based intervention with clinical assessments at a tertiary paediatric hospital.

Subjects 18 obese (body mass index (BMI)>International Obesity Task Force age and sex-specific cut-offs) children and adolescents (8–18 years, 11 girls/7 boys) were recruited. 15 participants (nine girls/six boys, mean±SE age 11.8±0.6 years, BMI-SD scores (BMI-SDS) 3.5±0.1, six prepubertal/nine pubertal) completed the intervention.

Intervention The programme comprised biweekly home visits over 10 weeks with personalised plans implemented aiming to increase moderate-intensity PA. Pedometers and PA diaries were used as self-monitoring tools. The goals were to (1) teach participants behavioural skills related to adopting and maintaining an active lifestyle and (2) increase daily participation in PA.

Outcome measures Mean steps/day were assessed. SI assessed by the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test and other components of the insulin resistance syndrome were measured.

Results Mean steps/day increased significantly from 10 363±927 (baseline) to 13 013±1131 (week 10) (p<0.05). SI was also significantly increased, despite no change in BMI-SDS, and remained so after an additional 10-week follow-up.

Conclusions The results suggest that such a home-based PA programme is feasible. SI improved without changes in BMI-SDS. More rigorous evaluations of such programmes are warranted.

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  • Funding LSC was supported by a Royal Children's Hospital Foundation (Brisbane, Australia) Clinical Research Scholarship. This research project was funded by a grant from the University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia, and an Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group/Novo Nordisk Research Grant.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethical approval Ethics approval was provided by Ethics Committees of the Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane and the University of Queensland.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.