Early prevention programs are effective in treating obesity [1
]. Adolescence, in particular, represents a period during which multiple physiological and psychological changes occur that affect dietary and physical activity habits [5
]. Approximately 50% of obese adolescents with body mass index equal to or greater than the 95th
percentile become obese adults with serious diseases [6
]. Consequences of early obesity include: poor quality of life [7
], onset of risk factors that can lead to early pathology [8
], frequent persistence into adulthood that can lead to increased morbidity of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and increased early mortality [10
In addition to physical consequences, obesity in youth is also associated with cognitive and psycho-social maladaptive behaviors. Li et al. showed an association between overweight and decreased cognitive function among children and adolescents that leads to poor quality of life, increased illness, incompetence, and low self esteem [12
]. Low self-esteem is also associated with a poor academic performance. Obese youth are less able to perform sport activities compared to their lean counterparts further contributing to low self esteem.
Early interventions, including appropriate pedagogy strategies, are important for a successful program. Exercise is one of the factors which contributes to long term weight maintenance [13
]. Physical activity, particularly aerobic training, improves lipid oxidation and may be take account in reducing cardiovascular diseases risk factors [14
]. Caloric restriction is not recommended in children and adolescents. Children are still growing, diet restriction is not compatible with long term nutrition habits, and dietary restraint for youth as for adults can lead to greater food consumption later [15
Few studies of diet restriction have been undertaken in children. Protein-sparing and hypo caloric balanced diets have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness for children in outpatient weight reduction [16
]. Data suggest that hypo caloric diets are safe and effective in short-term management of pediatric obesity, but should only be undertaken with close medical supervision [16
]. Long term effectiveness is uncertain.
Combining diet and physical activity has not been recommended because of the consequences of decreased energy intake with increased energy expenditure. Ebbeling & Rodriguez suggest that exercise offers metabolic benefits for obese children during diet-induced weight loss [17
]. Longitudinal studies to assess long term health outcomes are recommended. In our study, we developed a program of physical activity using the Conative Educational Model, i.e. that each subject has an adapted program according to individual competences [18
]. The principal aim of the Conative Educational Model is to provide a variety of games specifically selected to be enjoyable, maintain interest, and motivate subjects to adhere. The model assures that the child is never in a failure situation which might lead to decreased activity. The child is positioned in an evolutionary dynamics to a particular moment, raising in the same time of his singularity and responsibility, he is an actor of his own construction and management. Each child has an individualized program. This is differentiation pedagogy.
The aim of the present study was to assess changes in ability to perform sport activity, classroom behavior and academic performance following one year of a health-wellness intervention using the Conative Educational Model in obese youth.