Obese children are usually less active than their normal-weight counterparts, although the reasons for this remain unclear. The objective of the present study was to determine how a long-term program (3 years of intervention and 6 months of follow-up detraining) of physical exercise with or without a low calorie diet influenced sedentary obese children’s intention to be physically active. The participants were 27 children, ages from 8 to 11 years, who formed two groups according to the program that they followed. One group followed an exercise program (three 90-min sessions per week), and the other this same exercise program together with a hypocaloric diet. The intention to be physically active was assessed via the Measurement of Intention to be Physically Active (MIFA) questionnaire. The subjects’ scores at different times of the program (baseline, Year 3, and detraining) were compared using a repeated-measures ANOVA, and a post-hoc Tukey’s test was applied to confirm the differences. After both the intervention and detraining, both groups showed greater intention to be physically active. This suggests the suitability of long-term physical exercise to generate greater intention to be physically active and thus establish healthy life habits including increased levels of physical activity.
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