Safe and Effective Exercise for Overweight Youth: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Safe and Effective Exercise for Overweight Youth

1st Edition

By Melinda S. Sothern

CRC Press

374 pages | 65 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2014-06-06
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Based on decades of scientific research and clinical experience, Safe and Effective Exercise for Overweight Youth provides a scientifically supported and clinically relevant source of information that clinical health care providers, educators, public health, and fitness professionals may use to promote physical activity in overweight and obese youth of all ages, including those with significant obesity and chronic health conditions, such as hypertension, asthma, and type 2 diabetes. It presents a best practices model for implementing clinical- and recreational-based physical activity interventions.

The first five chapters offer an overview of the existing scientific literature supporting individualized, tailored exercise prescriptions for overweight and obese children with and without comorbidities. They also contain exercise instructions, illustrations, and sample lesson plans to improve cardiopulmonary endurance, muscular strength, power and endurance, and muscular flexibility. This information provides the basis for the recommendations provided in the subsequent chapters, which include specific guidelines for prescribing exercise to overweight children along with verbal cues or "talking points," clinical reminders, and handouts to assist health care providers.

The text provides a 40-week exercise curriculum with lesson plans, discusses the importance of regular medical and self-monitoring, and offers easy tools and techniques for health care providers to track a child’s progress. Chapters also supply detailed clinical and field protocols to aid in measuring health and fitness outcomes, describe realistic expectations, and present the U.S. recommendations for promoting physical activity and fitness in youth. The final chapter summarizes current studies to support future research on physical activity for the prevention and management of pediatric obesity.


"As the incidence of obese and overweight youth increases, busy professional will need to consult a reliable reference. Thus, this book is highly recommended."


Table of Contents

Profile of the Overweight Child: Implications for Exercise Prescription

Factors That Limit Physical Activity in Children

Responses of the Obese Child to Exercise

Implications to Exercise Prescription



Aerobic Exercise

Defining Cardiorespiratory Endurance

Prescribing Aerobic Exercise to Overweight and Obese Youth

Sample Class


Strength (Resistance) Training

Muscular Strength and Endurance

The Overload Principle

Periodization Training

Benefits of Strength Training in Youth

Developing Strength Training Programs for Youth

Adapting Strength Training to Overweight and Obese Children

Sample Class


Flexibility Training

Benefits of Flexibility Training

Modifying Flexibility Exercise for Overweight and Obese Children

Flexibility Training in Overweight Children with Bone and Joint Problems

Ten-Week Flexibility Training Program

Sample Class


Motivating Overweight Children to Increase Physical Activity

Determinants to Physical Activity 118

Motivational Theories and Models for Encouraging Positive

Behavior Change

Motivational Techniques and Strategies to Increase Physical Activity in Overweight Youth

Putting Research into Practice: Lesson Plans Tailored to Overweight and Obese Youth Using the Social Cognitive Theory



Putting It All Together

Developmentally Appropriate Physical Activity

Tailoring Exercise Recommendations to Age, Overweight Level, and Associated Medical Problems

Clinical Overview of a Typical Multicomponent Weight Management Program for Overweight Children

20-Week Exercise Curriculum for Group, Family, Clinical, and Home-Based Exercise Instruction

Putting Research into Practice: Weekly Exercise Lesson Plans Tailored to Overweight and Obese Youth


Monitoring Progress

The Importance of Regular Medical Monitoring and Self-Monitoring

Tracking Obesity in Children

Performing the Initial Medical Evaluation

Ordering and Interpreting Laboratory Blood Work

Provide Ongoing Medical Supervision

Monitoring Patient Progress

Evaluating Long-Term Progress


Measuring Health and Fitness Outcomes

Appropriate and Reliable Protocols for Measuring Outcomes

Anthropometrics and Body Composition

Measurement of Resting Blood Pressure

Measurement of Resting Heart Rate

Laboratory Blood Work

Measures of Physical Activity Level and Fitness

Fundamental Movement Skill Competency

Detailed Exercise Testing Protocols: Measurement of Fitness

Measurement of Resting Metabolism: Resting Energy Expenditure

and Respiratory Quotient

Tanner Staging


What to Expect

Metabolic Health Outcomes after Physical Activity and Exercise Training

Biochemical, Anthropometric, Behavioral, and Fitness Outcomes Related to Physical Activity

Current U.S. Evidence-Based Recommendations for Physical Activity


Future Trends in Exercise Research in Overweight and Obese Youth

Primary Targets for Exercise Research in Overweight and Obese Children

Factors That Inhibit Exercise in Overweight and Obese Youth




About the Author

Melinda S. Sothern, PhD, CEP is a licensed clinical exercise physiologist and Professor (tenure) in the LSUHSC School of Public Health (Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Program) and School of Medicine (Department of Pediatrics) in New Orleans, LA, and the Prevention of Childhood Obesity Laboratory at the LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. She is the recipient of the LSUHSC School of Public Health Jim Finks Endowed Chair in Health Promotion.

Dr. Sothern’s research is widely published in a multitude of peer-reviewed scientific journals and in three scientific textbooks, Safe and Effective Exercise for Overweight Youth (CRC Press, 2014), The Handbook of Pediatric Obesity: Clinical Management (Taylor and Francis, 2006), and The Handbook of Pediatric Obesity: Etiology, Pathophysiology and Prevention (Taylor and Francis, 2005). She also senior-authored a popular press book for parents of overweight children entitled Trim Kids (Harper Collins, 2001). The Trim Kids program is recognized by the National Cancer Institute as a Research Tested Intervention Program and is acknowledged by the U. S. Surgeon General for its community dissemination in YMCA centers in Louisiana.

Dr. Sothern was the 2009 recipient of the Obesity Society’s Oded Bar Or Award for Excellence in Pediatric Obesity Research, the 2008 recipient of the Cecil J. Picard Award for Excellence in Education to Prevent Childhood Obesity in Louisiana, and was selected as one of the Top Ten Female Achievers by New Orleans magazine. She recently received the 2014 Allen Copping Award for Excellence in Teaching at the LSUHSC School of Public Health, was honored with a proclamation by the New Orleans City Council as the outstanding alumna of the Human Performance and Health Promotion Program, and received Dr. Vane Wilson Award in recognition of excellent work and service in the field of human performance and health promotion in May 2000.

Dr. Sothern is currently serving as Principal Investigator on two NIH-sponsored studies entitled, Molecular and Social Determinants of Obesity in Developing Youth and Obesity and Asthma: Determinants of Inflammation and Effects of Intervention and CO-PI/mentor on two additional studies, Obese Women May Pass Pro-inflammatory Biomarkers through Breast Milk to Infant and A Social Marketing Intervention Designed to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Purchases. She also previously served as PI on other NIH-sponsored studies.

Dr. Sothern led her field in establishing standardized guidelines for prescribing exercise for children with increasing levels of obesity. She is considered a national spokesperson for overweight youth and has been featured extensively in national and international media including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN International, The Oprah Show, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Parents Magazine, and many others.

She is currently an associate editor for the journal Obesity and serves on the editorial board of the journals Pediatric Obesity, Childhood Obesity, and Obesity: Science and Practice. Dr. Sothern co-founded the Pediatric Obesity Interest Group and serves as Scientific Advisory Board Member for the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation. She is also a member of the scientific advisory committees for the U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth and the Louisiana State Report Card on Physical Activity and Health for Children and Youth. During the past 25 years Dr. Sothern has provided over 250 invited scientific lectures or presentations to universities, medical centers, and scientific meetings.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Endocrinology & Metabolism
MEDICAL / Nutrition