Exercise to improve self-esteem in children and young people

Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs, P.O.Box 8054 Dep., Oslo, Norway, N-0031.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 02/2004; 2004(1):CD003683. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003683.pub2
Source: PubMed


Psychological and behavioural problems in children and adolescents are common, and improving self-esteem may help to prevent the development of such problems. There is strong evidence for the positive physical health outcomes of exercise, but the evidence of exercise on mental health is scarce.
To determine if exercise alone or exercise as part of a comprehensive intervention can improve self-esteem among children and young people.
Computerised searches in MEDLINE, EMBASE, The Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (CENTRAL), CINAHL, PsycINFO and ERIC were undertaken and reference lists from relevant articles were scanned. Relevant studies were also traced by contacting authors. Dates of most recent searches: May 2003 in (CENTRAL), all others: January 2002.
Randomised controlled trials where the study population consisted of children and young people aged from 3 to 20 years, in which one intervention arm was gross motor activity for more than four weeks and the outcome measure was self-esteem.
Two reviewers independently selected trials for inclusion, assessed the validity of included trials and extracted data. Investigators were contacted to collect missing data or for clarification when necessary.
Twenty-three trials with a total of 1821 children and young people were included. Generally, the trials were small, and only one was assessed to have a low risk of bias. Thirteen trials compared exercise alone with no intervention. Eight were included in the meta-analysis, and overall the results were heteregeneous. One study with a low risk of bias showed a standardised mean difference (SMD) of 1.33 (95% CI 0.43 to 2.23), while the SMD's for the three studies with a moderate risk of bias and the four studies with a high risk of bias was 0.21 (95% CI -0.17 to 0.59) and 0.57 (95% CI 0.11 to 1.04), respectively. Twelve trials compared exercise as part of a comprehensive programme with no intervention. Only four provided data sufficient to calculate overall effects, and the results indicate a moderate short-term difference in self-esteem in favour of the intervention [SMD 0.51 (95% CI 0.15 to 0.88)].
The results indicate that exercise has positive short-term effects on self-esteem in children and young people. Since there are no known negative effects of exercise and many positive effects on physical health, exercise may be an important measure in improving children's self-esteem. These conclusions are based on several small low-quality trials.

Download full-text


Available from: Eilin Ekeland
  • Source
    • "Regular physical activity (PA) during childhood is essential for good physical and psychological health (PH) (Department of Health 2011). In common with the adult data, a meta-analysis of paediatric exercise interventions conducted worldwide shows a similar, moderate effect size for changes in children's self-esteem (SE) due to exercise (Ekeland et al. 2004). However, opportunities for children to be active are diminishing and children in the UK follow an increasingly sedentary way of life (Biddle et al. 2004). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: School playtime provides opportunities for children to engage in physical activity (PA). Playground playtime interventions designed to increase PA have produced differing results. However, nature can also promote PA, through the provision of large open spaces for activity. The purpose of this study is to determine which playtime interventions are most effective at increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and if this varies by school location. Fifty-two children from an urban and rural school participated in a playground sports (PS) and nature-based orienteering intervention during playtime for one week. MVPA was assessed the day before and on the final day of the interventions using accelerometers. Intervention type (p < 0.05) and school location (p < 0.001) significantly influenced MVPA; with PS increasing MVPA more than nature-based orienteering. Urban children seemed to respond to the interventions more positively; however, differences in baseline MVPA might influence these changes. There was a positive correlation for fitness and MVPA during PS (r = 0.32; p < 0.05), but not nature-based orienteering (p > 0.05). The provision of PS influences PA the most; however, a variety of interventions are required to engage less fit children in PA.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · International Journal of Environmental Health Research
  • Source
    • "Regular physical activity in youth has various immediate benefits, including improved musculoskeletal health, mental health, growth, and development [4]. Recent systematic reviews have found that physical activity in adolescence had positive short-term effects on self-esteem [5], positive effects on academic performance [6], and the potential to reduce depression [7]. A prospective study including 4,594 adolescents concluded that physical activity was inversely related to depressive symptoms in early adolescence [8]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Potential positive associations between youth physical activity and wellness scores could emphasize the value of youth physical activity engagement and promotion interventions, beyond the many established physiological and psychological benefits of increased physical activity. The purpose of this study was to explore the associations between adolescents' self-reported physical activity and wellness. This investigation included 493 adolescents (165 males and 328 females) aged between 12 and 15 years. The participants were recruited from six secondary schools of varying socioeconomic status within a metropolitan area. Students were administered the Five-Factor Wellness Inventory and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents to assess both wellness and physical activity, respectively. Data indicated that significant associations between physical activity and wellness existed. Self-reported physical activity was shown to be positively associated with four dimensions including friendship, gender identity, spirituality, and exercise-the higher order factor physical self and total wellness, and negatively associated with self-care, self-worth, love, and cultural identity. This study suggests that relationships exist between self-reported physical activity and various elements of wellness. Future research should use controlled trials of physical activity and wellness to establish causal links among youth populations. Understanding the nature of these relationships, including causality, has implications for the justification of youth physical activity promotion interventions and the development of youth physical activity engagement programs.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of Adolescent Health
  • Source
    • "Recent research has shown that both physical activity and sedentary behaviour are associated with a wide range of current and future health outcomes [1-3]. In fact, physical activity and sedentary behaviour are two independent and not mutually exclusive behaviours with different effects on health outcomes [4]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The quantity and quality of studies in child and adolescent physical activity and sedentary behaviour have rapidly increased, but research directions are often pursued in a reactive and uncoordinated manner. To arrive at an international consensus on research priorities in the area of child and adolescent physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Two independent panels, each consisting of 12 experts, undertook three rounds of a Delphi methodology. The Delphi methodology required experts to anonymously answer questions put forward by the researchers with feedback provided between each round. The primary outcome of the study was a ranked set of 29 research priorities that aimed to be applicable for the next 10 years. The top three ranked priorities were: developing effective and sustainable interventions to increase children’s physical activity long-term; policy and/or environmental change and their influence on children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour; and prospective, longitudinal studies of the independent effects of physical activity and sedentary behaviour on health. These research priorities can help to guide decisions on future research directions.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Show more