Encouraging children to do squats and lunges could play an important role in helping tackle obesity, scientists believe.
Researchers found taking part in such strength-based exercises that cause muscles to contract – and strengthen muscles and bones – reduced children’s body fat percentage.
An increase in muscle mass as a result of performing squats, lunges and push-ups also appeared to help boost metabolism and energy levels.
A team at the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee examined the findings of 18 studies exploring the effects of resistance training on body weight for children aged eight to 16.
They found resistance training decreased body fat, but had no overall effect on other measures, including lean muscle mass, body mass index and waist circumference.
Helen Collins, a sport and exercise scientist at Dundee, said: “Treatment, and more importantly, prevention, of child obesity is a growing concern.
“Our findings highlight the need for more robust research into the role strength-based exercises can play in helping everyone make healthy life choices and be more physically active.”