A randomized controlled trial of Kung Fu training for metabolic health in overweight/obese adolescents: the "martial fitness" study.
J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Jul;22(7):595-607. PMID: 19774841
Twenty overweight/obese adolescents underwent six months of Kung Fu or placebo (Tai Chi) training, 3x.wk(-1). Outcomes included fasting insulin and insulin resistance, lipids, glucose and HbA(1c), and C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP decreased significantly (p = 0.03) in both groups over time at six months. Although insulin sensitivity did not change, HbA(1c) tended to decrease over time (p = 0.09), again with no group difference (p = 0.60). Reduced CRP was related to increased upper body strength (p = 0.01). Increased lean body mass was related to reductions in HbA(1c), insulin resistance, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. Improvements in lean body mass appear to have a potential role in favorable metabolic outcomes, independent of changes in fat mass. Further research in this area is warranted before definite conclusions can be drawn about the efficacy of martial arts training for metabolic outcomes in this cohort.