Background: Play-based activities can be a positive intervention to increase participation
of overweight children. Metabolomics can reveal elemental shifts in the metabolome, lending to
potential mechanistic explanations behind improvements in physiological systems.
Objective: To elucidate dose-response urinary metabolomic signature shifts in overweight preadolescents
following four or eight weeks of supervised play-based activity versus a typical summer
break control group. We hypothesized that eight weeks of activity would cause the greatest shift in
Study Design: Twenty-two recreationally active preadolescents (12 males, 10 females) were randomly
assigned to a four-week (4w) or eight-week (8w) activity group or to a control group (C).
Participants reported to the laboratory on two separate occasions during which descriptive characteristics
were recorded and urine samples were obtained. Children in the 4w and 8w cohort were tested
at the beginning and end of the four and eight weeks of a supervised play-based physical activity
program where they were active for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. Children in the C group were
tested before and after eight weeks of an unsupervised summer break.
Results: A valid supervised partial least squares discriminant analysis model was obtained between
post-exercise subjects in 8w and C (3 components, R2X = 0.332, R2Y = 0.976, Q2 = 0.091). The
eight week intervention yielded significant metabolomic changes in several identified compounds.
Conclusion: When compared to a typical unsupervised summer break, a supervised play-based intervention
provides enough of a stimulus for a shift in the metabolome.