Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physical Therapy

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Purpose. To evaluate the effect of Fit Kids for Life (FKFL), a multi-disciplinary exercise and nutrition intervention, on body composition, fitness levels, cardiovascular risk factors and quality of life among overweight and obese children. Subjects. Forty-eight overweight or obese children (BMI ≥ 85th percentile), ages 8-17, were matched by age and BMI and then randomized into an exercise or wait list control group. The groups were similar at baseline for age, gender and ethnicity (p>.05). Method. The exercise group trained for 60 minutes, two times per week for 10 weeks, then performed a 10 week home program. After 10 weeks of waiting to start, the control group began the 10 week exercise program followed by a 10 week home program. Body composition (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), fitness measures, quality of life, and cardiovascular risk factors were assessed at baseline, at completion of the 10 week intervention and following the 10 week home program. Results. Body composition improved over time in both groups with significant changes in % body fat and % lean tissue noted between baseline and twenty weeks (p<.05). Fitness measures improved and changes were maintained or increased during the home program phase. Cardiovascular risk factors remained unchanged between groups and across time, with the exception of systolic blood pressure which increased at 10 weeks. The physical domain of the Impact of Quality of Life scale significantly improved following completion of the program (p<.05). Conclusions.Overweight and obese children who completed the 10 week FKFL program improved their body composition and fitness levels. The beneficial changes were sustained or improved following an additional 10 week home program. Recommendations. Overweight and obese children can benefit from a 10 week multidisciplinary exercise and nutrition program. The use of body composition methods and fitness measures may be better indicators of program effectiveness.


Physical Therapy


Health and environmental sciences, Body composition, Body mass index, Cardiovascular risk, Child obesity, Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, Fitness, Overweight, Quality of life

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