BACKGROUND: There has been a rise in research into obesity prevention and treatment programmes in youth, including the effectiveness of resistance-based exercise. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to examine the effect of resistance training interventions on weight status in youth.
METHODS: Meta-analysis followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines and was registered on PROSPERO (registration number CRD42016038365). Eligible studies were from English language peer-reviewed published articles. Searches were conducted in seven databases between May 2016 and June 2017. Studies were included that examined the effect of resistance training on weight status in youth, with participants of school age (5-18 years).
RESULTS: There were 24 complete sets of data from 18 controlled trials (CTs) which explored 8 outcomes related to weight status. Significant, small effect sizes were identified for body fat% (Hedges' g = 0.215, 95% CI 0.059 to 0.371, P = 0.007) and skinfolds (Hedges' g = 0.274, 95% CI 0.066 to 0.483, P = 0.01). Effect sizes were not significant for: body mass (Hedges' g = 0.043, 95% CI - 0.103 to 0.189, P = 0.564), body mass index (Hedges' g = 0.024, 95% CI - 0.205 to 0.253, P = 0.838), fat-free mass (Hedges' g = 0.073, 95% CI - 0.169 to 0.316, P = 0.554), fat mass (Hedges' g = 0.180, 95% CI - 0.090 to 0.451, P = 0.192), lean mass (Hedges' g = 0.089, 95% CI - 0.122 to 0.301, P = 0.408) or waist circumference (Hedges' g = 0.209, 95% CI - 0.075 to 0.494, P = 0.149).
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this meta-analysis suggest that an isolated resistance training intervention may have an effect on weight status in youth. Overall, more quality research should be undertaken to investigate the impact of resistance training in youth as it could have a role to play in the treatment and prevention of obesity.