Kids don't lose weight in gym class

January 22, 2009

Gym classes, fitness tests, and other forms of school-based physician education do not help students lose weight, a systematic Cochraine review found. But that?s okay.

Gym classes, fitness tests, and other forms of school-based physician education do not help students lose weight, a systematic Cochraine review found. But that’s okay.

Lead researcher Maureen Dobbins, PhD, and group studied aggregate data from 26 controlled studies of school-based physical activity programs spread through four continents. Dobbins found a statistically significant improvement of between 6 and 50 extra minutes of physical activity. It also increased lung capacity.

However, that activity, in all its various formats, did not translate into lost weight. Ten out of 14 programs with data on intervention-group children showed no body mass index (BMI) improvement.

But physical activity in most any format is a positive, and furthermore reduces the amount of sedentary time in a child’s day. So Dobbins still recommends school pursue such programs, even if –or when – they do not lead to a drop in collective BMI.