A Placebo - a strategy to improve physical fitness of normal adolescents: a randomized control trial





Background: The capacity of the placebo effect to affect a range of physiological and psychological characteristics, including strength, endurance, and pain perception. Its use for teenage physical fitness, however, is still largely unknown.

Objective: To determine the effects of placebo drink administration on physical fitness among normal-weight adolescents compared to plain water.

Methods: This randomized control trial with n=60 adolescents aged 10-19 years, of both genders and normal weight was conducted at Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, Islamabad from May 2021 to August 2021. Randomization was performed using the envelope method dividing the sample into an experimental group who were given a placebo drink (water + red food colour) and a control group who were given water. Tools used for data collection included the Physical Activity of Leisure Motivation Scale for motivation level determination, the Physical Activity Questionnaire, and four fitness tests including 20 m running, a broad jump, a reach test, and a reduced cooper test. 

Results: Post-intervention results revealed a significant difference in means for experimental and control groups for reduced Cooper test (P=0.003), pulse rate (p=0.033), and exertion level (p<0.001). post-intervention palms score revealed significantly better results in the experimental group for mastery (p=0.004) physical (p=0.008) and psychological levels (p<0.001). the results also indicate that the experimental group showed a more significant mean difference regarding the affiliation subscale with (p<0.001) and total PALMS score (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Administered placebo drink boosts physical performance by increasing motivational levels and decreasing the exertion of normal-weight adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescent; exercise; health; heart rate; placebo; physical fitness; water.

IRCT # 20211052405138N1 

Author Biographies

Mishaal Ahmar, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences

Doctor of Physical Therapy Graduate

Arooj Abbasi, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, Islamabad Pakistan

Doctor of Physical Therapy Graduate

Fouzia Batool, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences

Assistant Professor

Naima Farooq , Riphah College of Rehabilitation and Allied Health Sciences

Senior Lecturer

Ghulam Saqulain, Department of Otorhinolaryngology Capital Hospital, Islamabad Pakistan

Prof & HOD

Maria Khalid, Riphah College of Rehabilitation and Allied Health Sciences

Assistant Professor







21-03-2024 — Updated on 21-03-2024




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