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Influence of Acute Physical Activity on Stress Reactivity in Obese and Normal Weight Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Messerli-Bürgy Nadine, Horsch Antje, Schindler Christian, Boichat Anaëlle, Kriemler Susi, Munsch Simone, Crottet Bertrand, Marquez-Vidal Pedro M., Borghini Ayala, Puder Jardena J.,
Project Children’s stress regulation capacity and mental health: the influence of parental factors and stress exposure
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Obesity Facts
Volume (Issue) 12(1)
Page(s) 115 - 130
Title of proceedings Obesity Facts
DOI 10.1159/000494294

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


OBJECTIVE: Physical activity (PA) may influence acute stress reactivity in children differently depending on their weight. This randomized controlled trial investigated the impact of acute PA and of BMI status (overweight/obese (OB/OW) and normal weight (NW) on stress reactivity. METHOD: 50 prepubertal children (24 OW/OB and 26 NW) were randomly assigned to the PA or sedentary arm (SED) for 30 min followed by a stress task. Salivary cortisol, blood pressure (BP), and heart rate (HR) were measured. RESULTS: An interaction effect between the randomization arms and weight status on salivary cortisol was found after the stress task (p = 0.04). Cortisol increased in the SED, but not in the PA arm (p = 0.004 for differences in time course) of NW children. Time course did not differ between both arms in OW/OB children (p = 0.7). OW/OB SED children had a flat cortisol course, and levels were reduced compared to the NW SED or the OW/OB PA children (p ≤ 0.03). Systolic BP increased only in the SED arm (p = 0.01). HR was higher in the PA than in the SED arm during stress (p < 0.001) and showed different time courses (p = 0.006). CONCLUSION: PA impacted on acute stress reactivity and influenced stress reactivity differently in NW and OW/OB children