Objective Arterial stiffness is an early and detectable marker of vascular changes leading to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ACVD). Our objective was to compare the effectiveness of different types of exercise in reducing arterial stiffness in children and adolescents.
Design A systematic review and network meta-analysis (NMA) was conducted including experimental studies reporting the effects of exercise interventions on pulse wave velocity (PWV) in children and adolescents.
Data sources Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE (via Scopus), PubMed (via Medline) and Web of Science from database inception to 25 March 2022.
Eligibility criteria Experimental studies reporting the effects of exercise interventions on PWV in children and adolescents.
Results Fourteen studies were included in the NMA, all of them were randomised controlled trials except one quasi-experimental study, with an overall risk of bias of some concern. Regarding PWV reduction, all exercise modalities were more effective than control, with standardised mean difference ranging from −1.93 (95% CI: −2.84 to –1.02) and −1.11 (95% CI: −2.01 to –0.21) for aerobic exercise and high intensity interval training (HIIT), respectively, to −0.59 (95% CI: −1.39 to 0.22) for combined exercise. Only sensorimotor training was not superior to the control group 0.11 (95% CI: −1.10 to 1.32).
Conclusion Our results support that exercise interventions, especially aerobic exercise or HIIT, can improve arterial stiffness at early ages. The potential to address ACVD early and mitigate long-term consequences via exercise interventions in children and adolescents with higher arterial stiffness requires further investigation.
PROSPERO registration number CRD42022322536.
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
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Contributors IS-D and IC-R conceptualised and designed the study, drafted the initial manuscript, coordinated and supervised data collection, and reviewed and revised the manuscript. ADSL and SNdAA collected data and reviewed and provided relevant intellectual content. VM-V and DM designed the study and critically reviewed the manuscript for important intellectual content.
IS-D was responsible for the overall content as guarantor
All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.
Funding This study was funded by ERDF funds. SNdAA is supported by a grant from the University of Castilla-La Mancha (2020-PREDUCLM-16704). IS-D is supported by a grant from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (FPU19/00109).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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