Improved frontoparietal white matter integrity in overweight children is associated with attendance at an after-school exercise program

Cynthia E. Krafft, David J. Schaeffer, Nicolette F. Schwarz, Lingxi Chi, Abby L. Weinberger, Jordan E. Pierce, Amanda L. Rodrigue, Jerry David Allison, Nathan Eugene Yanasak, Tianming Liu, Catherine Lucy Davis, Jennifer E. McDowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aerobic fitness is associated with white matter integrity (WMI) in adults as measured by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). This study examined the effect of an 8-month exercise intervention on WMI in children. Participants were 18 sedentary, overweight (BMI ≥85th percentile) 8- to 11-year-old children (94% Black), randomly assigned to either an aerobic exercise (n = 10) or sedentary attention control group (n = 8). Each group was offered an instructor-led after-school program every school day for approximately 8 months. Before and after the program, all subjects participated in DTI scans. Tractography was conducted to isolate the superior longitudinal fasciculus and investigate whether the exercise intervention affected WMI in this region. There was no group by time interaction for WMI in the superior longitudinal fasciculus. There was a group by time by attendance interaction, however, such that higher attendance at the exercise intervention, but not the control intervention, was associated with increased WMI. Heart rate and the total dose of exercise correlated with WMI changes in the exercise group. In the overall sample, increased WMI was associated with improved scores on a measure of attention and improved teacher ratings of executive function. This study indicates that participating in an exercise intervention improves WMI in children as compared to a sedentary after-school program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Neuroscience
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014

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Keywords

  • Aerobic exercise
  • Children
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive control
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Overweight
  • Superior longitudinal fasciculus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience

Cite this

Krafft, C. E., Schaeffer, D. J., Schwarz, N. F., Chi, L., Weinberger, A. L., Pierce, J. E., ... McDowell, J. E. (2014). Improved frontoparietal white matter integrity in overweight children is associated with attendance at an after-school exercise program. Developmental Neuroscience, 36(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1159/000356219