Effects of aerobic training, resistance training, or both on brain-derived neurotrophic factor in adolescents with obesity: The hearty randomized controlled trial Journal Articles uri icon

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  • UNLABELLED: Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that plays a critical role in modulating cognition in animals and humans. Aerobic exercise often increases BDNF in adults, but effects of this exercise modality and others among adolescents remain uncertain. This study examined the effects of aerobic training, resistance training, and combined training on resting serum BDNF levels in adolescents with overweight and obesity. After a 4-week pre-randomization treatment, 304 post-pubertal, adolescents with overweight or obesity (70% females) aged 14-18 years were randomized to one of four groups for 22 weeks: aerobic training (N = 75), resistance training (N = 78), combined aerobic and resistance training (N = 75), or non-exercising control (N = 76). All participants received dietary counseling targeting a daily energy deficit of 250 kcal. The exercise prescription was 4 times per week, progressing to 45 min/session for the aerobic and resistance groups and 90 min/session for the combined group. Resting serum BDNF levels were measured at baseline and 6-months. Results showed that in both intention-to-treat (ITT) and per protocol (≥70% adherence to prescribed sessions) analyses, there were no significant within- or between-group changes in BDNF. Findings indicate that aerobic training, resistance training or their combination did change serum BDNF levels in adolescents with overweight and obesity. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.Gov NCT00195858 http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00195858, September 12, 2005 (Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research).


  • Goldfield, Gary S
  • Kenny, Glen P
  • Prud'homme, Denis
  • Holcik, Martin
  • Alberga, Angela S
  • Fahnestock, Margaret
  • Cameron, Jameason D
  • Doucette, Steve
  • Hadjiyannakis, Stasia
  • Tulloch, Heather
  • Tremblay, Mark S
  • Walsh, Jeremy
  • Guerin, Eva
  • Gunnell, Katie E
  • D'Angiulli, Amedeo
  • Sigal, Ronald J

publication date

  • July 2018