Supervised Fun, Exercise Both Provide Psychosocial Benefit to Children with Obesity

Posted on July 5, 2019

Exercising regularly is known to lead to many benefits, such as reducing fat, enhancing cognitive ability and improving overall body functions. The psychosocial health of individuals can also be boosted through engagement in physical activities. However, Dr Catherine Davis, a health psychologist, has also mentioned that it is as advantageous for children to participate in supervised co-curricular programs as it is for them to exercise. According to her, the role of responsible adults is important in providing these benefits to children.

A study was conducted with 175 children who were previously inactive and were obese. They then took part in either a fun aerobic exercise or a sedentary program involving board games and arts. After the activities, the findings reveal that the exercise program did not improve the mood of the children even though it had helped them to reduce fats and improved their brain functioning. On the other hand, the sedentary activities helped to decrease depressive symptoms of children in the group, despite not making much changes to their physical health.

Another study was conducted, this time to assess the long-term effects of each activity. Similar to the previous experiment, the participants were split into two groups and one group took part in the exercise program while the other group engaged in sedentary activities. The participants also had their depressive symptoms, anger expression and quality of life measured before and after the study, and a year later. The children bonded over these activities, hence their mood and quality of life were improved regardless of which program they were in. However, the sedentary program was able to provide children with more time to interact with each other without being competitive.

As both programs improved the psychosocial health of the participants, researchers suggest that some benefits of exercising might have resulted from frequent interaction with engaging adults who provide a behavioral structure, as well as socializing with other children.

Activities with proper regulation and routines that allow for adequate interaction with others can help improve psychosocial health in children who are overweight. While exercising is advantageous, it is also important to take into account the context in which it occurs.


Category(s):Child Development

Source material from Science Daily


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