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Critical Periods of Exercise

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Krista Casazza, University of Alabama at Birmingham Identifier:
First received: December 30, 2009
Last updated: April 18, 2012
Last verified: April 2012

Early childhood (~3-7 years of age) is an important window for determining body composition trajectory and may be a critical period for the development of tissue partitioning patterns that influence obesity risk. As adiposity accelerates during this critical period, deposition/ preservation of fat stores may be sustained at the 'expense' of other tissues; i.e. energy homeostasis may be inherently biased toward fat gain. The type and amount of tissue mass accrued in early childhood has implications for metabolic profile, glucose/insulin homeostasis, hormone profile and resting energy expenditure.

The interplay between fat and bone deposition represents a physiologic trait enabling the body to choose between shuttling 'energy' towards accrual of a particular tissue. Plausibly the phenotype underlying obesity and diabetes risk may be determined by the differentiation of cell type (adipocyte, osteocyte, etc.) during this early stage of growth and development. In vitro studies demonstrate transdifferentiation under the influence of specific external stimuli, which can switch phenotypes toward other cell lineages. Further, rodent models have demonstrated that exposure to stimuli (exercise) early in life may prevent excess fat mass accrual in adulthood, even when the stimulus is later removed (animals are no longer exercising). Children's early experiences (engagement in physical activity vs. sedentary behavior) may 'environmentally induce' alterations in body composition and predispose individuals to obesity throughout life.

Aim 1. To examine the associations between body composition via DXA and objectively-measured physical activity/inactivity.

  1. Hypothesis 1.1: There is a positive association between physical activity and bone mass.
  2. Hypothesis 1.2: There is a positive association between sedentary behavior and total fat mass.

    Aim2. To examine the associations between adipose tissue distribution via MRI and objectively-measured physical activity/inactivity.

  3. Hypothesis 2.1: There is an inverse association between physical activity and bone marrow adipose tissue.
  4. Hypothesis 2.2: There is a positive association between sedentary behavior and bone marrow adipose tissue.

Condition Intervention
Behavioral: Exercise

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Critical Periods of Exercise

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Association between exercise and bone marrow adipose tissue in children 3-7 years [ Time Frame: 10 weeks of exercise ]

Enrollment: 20
Study Start Date: December 2009
Study Completion Date: June 2011
Primary Completion Date: December 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Exercise group
Children will participate in a 10-week moderate to vigorous exercise program
Behavioral: Exercise
Children will be exposed to a 10-week exercise intervention
No Intervention: non-exercising
Participants will receive no intervention


Ages Eligible for Study:   3 Years to 7 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • children aged 3 to 7 years
  • healthy, not under the care of a doctor
  • not taking medications known to alter body composition or metabolism
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01041820

United States, Alabama
Family Care Center
Birmingham, Alabama, United States, 35210
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama, United States, 35294
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Alabama at Birmingham
  More Information

Responsible Party: Krista Casazza, Krista R. Casazza PhD, RD/Assistant Professor, UAB, University of Alabama at Birmingham Identifier: NCT01041820     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: F090904001
Study First Received: December 30, 2009
Last Updated: April 18, 2012

Keywords provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham:
bone marrow adipose tissue
bone mineral density
Children in the intervention condition will complete a supervised physical activity program 3 days/wk for 10 weeks
Control treatment will be provided no intervention
All participants will be instructed not to change their current dietary habits during the study period. processed this record on May 23, 2017