A 3-year school-based exercise intervention improves muscle strength - a prospective controlled population-based study in 223 children

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Abstract

Background: Intense physical activity (PA) improves muscle strength in children, but it remains uncertain whether moderately intense PA in a population-based cohort of children confers these benefits. Methods: We included children aged 6-9 years in four schools where the intervention school increased the school curriculum of PA from 60 minutes/week to 40 minutes/school day while the control schools continued with 60 minutes/week for three years. We measured muscle strength, as isokinetic Peak Torque (PT) (Nm) of the knee flexors in the right leg at speeds of 60 degrees/second and 180 degrees/second, at baseline and at follow-up, in 47 girls and 76 boys in the intervention group and 46 girls and 54 boys in the control group and then calculated annual changes in muscle strength. Data are provided as means with 95% confidence intervals. Results: Girls in the intervention group had 1.0 Nm (0.13, 1.9) and boys 1.9 Nm (0.9, 2.9) greater annual gain in knee flexor PT at 60 degrees/second, than girls and boys in the control group. Boys in the intervention group also had 1.5 Nm (0.5, 2.5) greater annual gain in knee flexors PT at 180 degrees/second than boys in the control group. Conclusion: A 3-year moderately intense PA intervention program within the school curriculum enhances muscle strength in both girls and boys.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Orthopedics

Keywords

  • Body composition, Boys, Isokinetic peak torque, Girls, Knee extension, Knee flexion, Muscle strength, Physical activity, School-based, intervention
Original languageEnglish
Article number353
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Volume15
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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