Purpose. The aim of this systematic review with meta-analysis was to assess the effects of recreational soccer on fat mass in untrained sedentary adults. Methods. The following databases were searched: Web of Science, Scopus, SPORTDiscus, and PubMed. The inclusion criteria were: (i) sedentary adult population not restricted to sex, clinical condition; (ii) exposure to intervention programs based on soccer; (iii) intervention groups compared with passive or active (not related with soccer) control groups; (iv) fat mass (indirectly or directly measured); (v) randomized controlled trials. The database search initially yielded 4565 titles. From those, 22 articles were eligible for the systematic review and meta-analysis. The age of the included population varied from 20 to 68 years. Results. No significant differences in fat mass changes were found between recreational soccer groups and active controls (ES = –0.070, trivial; 95% CI: –0.28 to 0.14; p = 0.505; I2 = 0.0%; Egger’s test p = 0.986). However, significant changes in fat mass were observed between recreational soccer groups and passive controls (ES = –0.43, small; 95% CI: –0.59 to –0.27; p < 0.001; I2 = 35.0%; Egger’s test p = 0.652). Conclusions. Regular participation in recreational soccer is as effective as participation in analytical exercise approaches such as continuous running to produce significant fat mass reductions in untrained sedentary populations, independently of sex and clinical condition. However, recreational soccer arouses a greater interest as it has the advantage of increasing the motivation to maintain participation in an active lifestyle.
- Body composition
- Body fat
- Health promotion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health