Background and Purpose: The purpose of this study was to find sound evidence to support diet and exercise as an effective intervention to prevent the development of obesity in childhood and subsequently to prevent the onset of metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia) in young adulthood. Methods: Search methods include utilizing the UNM HSC library databases of PubMed, PEDro, CINAHL, and Cochrane. Search terms used include but are not limited to: metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, pediatric obes ity, obesity exercise, obesity diet, pediatric exercise, and res istive exercise. Additional information about specific statistics, pediatric exercise guidelines, and general information on metabolic syndrome was obtained from the CDD, NIH, and the American Diabetes Association. Results: A total of 3 2 articles were used and rated for level of evidence using the Oxford rating system. According to the evidence there is a strong correlation between chronic obesity and the development of metabolic syndrome. A mixture of aerobic and resistive exercise is found to be es sential in order to improve insulin sensitivity, to enhance cardiovascular health, and to maintain healthy body weight. A diet rich in plant-based, low proces sed, low sugar foods is essential in the reduction of exces s ive body fat. A combination of healthy diet and exercise is the optimal choice in order to significantly reduce excessive body fat, maintain healthy body weight, and therefore reduce the key factors that lead to metabolic syndrome. Evidence shows that incorporating the family and school system in the weight loss intervention is key to achieving patient compliance of a diet and exercise program. Conclusion: Because exercise is so important to maintain health and wellness in the pediatric population as well as integral to prevent the factors that lead to metabolic syndrome, it makes sense for Physical Therapists, as the mobility specialists, to become more involved in the implementation of s pecific prevention programs in the schools, in the clinic, and in the home.


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Document Type



diet and exercise, metabolic syndrome, children, adolescence

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