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The influence of a multidisciplinary intervention program on Achilles tendon structure in children with overweight and obesity


Steinberg N, Eliakim A, Elbaz L, Pantanowitz M, Zeev A, Nemet D


Eur J Pediatr. 2020 Nov;179(11):1787-1796.

Publishing detail

PMID: 32451724


The effects of childhood obesity on tendon structure and its relation to physical activity are barely known. We aimed to investigate the influence of a 6-month multidisciplinary childhood obesity management program (which included dietary intervention and an exercise program) on Achilles tendon structure in overweight/obese children. Twenty-five overweight/obese children (overweight group) who participated in a 6-month multidisciplinary childhood obesity program, and 27 normal-weight controls were examined for anthropometric measurements and for Achilles tendon structure (using ultrasound tissue characterization to capture a three-dimensional structure of four echo type fibers and the cross-sectional area) at baseline, 3, and 6 months. The BMI of the overweight group significantly decreased from the pre- to the post-intervention period, (p = .002, η2 = .229), yet among the control group, the BMI significantly increased (p = .002, η2 = .222). Interactions (pre-post × group) showed a significant decrease in the prevalence of echo type I and in echo type III fibers and a significant increase in the prevalence of echo type II fibers and in the cross-sectional area along the intervention. No significant changes in echo type fibers were found in the control group along the 6 months.Conclusion: At pre-intervention, the overweight group had significantly “worse” tendon structure, with a lower prevalence of echo type II fiber and a higher prevalence of echo type III fibers compared with the control group. Following the 6-month intervention, the tendon structure of the overweight group was “positively” changed, with reduced echo type III fibers and increased echo type II fibers. What is Known: • Physical activity and weight reduction programs are efficient for obese children. • Obese children tend to suffer orthopedic problems and pain during physical activity. What is New: • Pre-intervention, obese children had ‘worse’ tendon structure compared to controls. • Following 6-month program, tendon structure of obese children ‘positively’ changed.

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