Exercise is important to the long term control of obesity in children. In previous research we have demonstrated that a lifestyle exercise program is associated with superior long term weight control compared to an isolcaloric structured aerobic exercise program. However, even in the lifestyle exercise program children do not adhere to exercise throughout treatment. One of the major reasons for the difficulty in maintaining increased exercise may be the failure to consider that obese children often prefer sedentary activities such as television watching to more vigorous exercise, and in most situations would choose to be sedentary rather than active. The present study is designed to assess the effects of a comprehensive exercise program that includes both increasing lifestyle exercise as well as decreasing sedentary activity on long term weight control Children will be randomly assigned to one of four groups that vary according to whether they are provided a lifestyle exercise program and/or a program designed to reduce sedentary activity. Children will be followed over a three year period, to provide data on differences in both the short term and long term differences between the groups. In addition, measures of exercise adherence, exercise preference, and laboratory assessment of the relative reinforcing value of vigorous or sedentary activity will be used to understand how these variable influence weight change.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
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Social Sciences and Population Study Section (SSP)
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University of Pittsburgh
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Epstein, Leonard H; Raja, Samina; Daniel, Tinuke Oluyomi et al. (2012) The built environment moderates effects of family-based childhood obesity treatment over 2 years. Ann Behav Med 44:248-58
Paluch, Rocco A; Epstein, Leonard H; Roemmich, James N (2007) Comparison of methods to evaluate changes in relative body mass index in pediatric weight control. Am J Hum Biol 19:487-94
Temple, J L; Wrotniak, B H; Paluch, R A et al. (2006) Relationship between sex of parent and child on weight loss and maintenance in a family-based obesity treatment program. Int J Obes (Lond) 30:1260-4
Wrotniak, Brian H; Epstein, Leonard H; Paluch, Rocco A et al. (2005) The relationship between parent and child self-reported adherence and weight loss. Obes Res 13:1089-96
Epstein, Leonard H; Paluch, Rocco A; Kilanowski, Colleen K et al. (2004) The effect of reinforcement or stimulus control to reduce sedentary behavior in the treatment of pediatric obesity. Health Psychol 23:371-80
Wrotniak, Brian H; Epstein, Leonard H; Paluch, Rocco A et al. (2004) Parent weight change as a predictor of child weight change in family-based behavioral obesity treatment. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 158:342-7
Epstein, Leonard H; Truesdale, Robin; Wojcik, Angela et al. (2003) Effects of deprivation on hedonics and reinforcing value of food. Physiol Behav 78:221-7
Goldfield, Gary S; Epstein, Leonard H (2002) Can fruits and vegetables and activities substitute for snack foods? Health Psychol 21:299-303
Myers Ernst, Michelle; Epstein, Leonard H (2002) Habituation of responding for food in humans. Appetite 38:224-34
Epstein, L H; Roemmich, J N (2001) Reducing sedentary behavior: role in modifying physical activity. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 29:103-8

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