Welcome to the Focus on Strength webpage. On this page, all relevant publications connected to the Focus on Strength project, including additional research materials (study materials, data, syntax, and output) are collected.


“The obesity prevalence is still rising”
“Obesity is a growing health problem globally”
“More and more children are obese, and obese children become obese adults”.

Nowadays you see statements like these more and more often: we (and our children) are becoming heavier, that overweight and obesity are established risk factors for chronic metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, and that ‘something’ has to be done to make people healthier. This is our attempt.

On the 12th of August 2011, it all started with Guy Plasqui (Human Biologist), Gerjo Kok (Applied Psychologist) and Gill ten Hoor (something in between). In a brainstorm meeting, a white sheet of paper was soon filled with ideas of how we could contribute to a solution. We immediately agreed that obesity is a multidisciplinary problem, where a multidisciplinary approach was needed. Not long after that meeting, a team of biologists, health promotors, movement scientists, psychologists, and a youth health care expert was gathered. The “Focus on Strength’ was born.

As Focus on Strength team we did not attempt to solve obesity per se, but obesity-related health issues. From a biological perspective, we therefore wanted to stop focusing on losing body weight, and decided to concentrate on improvements in body composition (that is: the ratio of fat free mass and fat mass). From a psychological perspective we did not want to focus on what people have to do to become healthier, but on what they want to do. Our answer was: strength exercises. Although for now this answer – “strength exercises” – might seem to be too simple for the complex obesity problem, strength exercises might contribute to a solution on many levels. From a biological point of view, it is a fact that people with overweight or obesity are often stronger (in absolute sense) and better in (absolute) strength exercises compared with normal weight people. Under the right circumstances, people with overweight might notice that strength exercises are easier than aerobic exercises and that their performance is better than the performance of their normal weight counterparts. Using psychological principles from the Social Comparison theory and Self Determination Theory, improving overweight peoples’ feelings of competence could make them more motivated to engage in strength exercise and ultimately make them maintain a more active lifestyle. Additionally – and not unimportant- strength exercises promote a healthier body composition, having positive effects in combating the negative health consequences of obesity. Under Publications you can read more about the program idea and studies related to this project.


Publications in Dissertation G.A. ten Hoor

Chapter 1
Ten Hoor GA, Plasqui G, Schols AMWJ, et al (2014). Combating adolescent obesity: an integrated physiological and psychological perspective. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 17(6), 521.

Chapter 2
Ten Hoor GA, Plasqui G, Ruiter RAC, et al. (2016). A new direction in Psychology and Health: Resistance exercise training for obese children and adolescents. Psychology and Health, 31(1), 1-8.

Chapter 3
Ten Hoor GA, Kok G., Peters GJY, et al. (2017). The psychological effects of strength exercises in people who are overweight or obese: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine (47): 2069-2081.

Additional materials

Chapter 4 (accepted version)
Ten Hoor GA, Plasqui G, Schols AMWJ, Kok G. (accepted version) A benefit of being heavier is being strong: a cross-sectional study in young adults. Sports Medicine Open 

Additional materials

Chapter 5
Ten Hoor GA, Sleddens EFC., Kremers, SPJ, et al (2015). Aerobic and strength exercises for youngsters aged 12 to 15: what do parents think?. BMC public health, 15(1), 1.

Additional materials

Chapter 6
Ten Hoor GA, Musch K, Meijer K, et al. (2016). Test-retest reproducability and validity of the back-leg-chest strength measurement. Isokinetics and Exercise Science (1). 1–8

Additional materials

Chapter 7
Ten Hoor GA, Kok G, Rutten GM, et al (2016). The Dutch ‘Focus on Strength’intervention study protocol: programme design and production, implementation and evaluation plan. BMC public health, 16(1), 496.

Additional materials

Chapter 8 (will be available soon)
Ten Hoor GA, Rutten GM, Van Breukelen GJP, et al (Submitted). Strength exercises during physical education classes in high schools improve body composition: A cluster randomized controlled trial.

Publications after dissertation

ten Hoor GA, Plasqui G, Schols AMWJ and Kok G (2017) Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of an Interdisciplinary Theory- and Evidence-Based Intervention to Prevent Childhood Obesity: Theoretical and Methodological Lessons Learned. Front. Public Health 5:352.


Publications in Dutch
Ten Hoor GA (2015). Krachtinspanningen bij jongeren: de oplossing voor obesitas? VoedingNU, December nummer 2015.

Ten Hoor GA (2016). Geen duurtraining maar krachttraining? Oplossing voor overgewicht bij jongeren? Sportgericht, 70(3)

Ten Hoor GA (2017, 22 december) Jongeren en krachttraining: een gouden combinatie? https://www.allesoversport.nl/artikel/jongeren-en-krachttraining-een-gouden-combinatie/. 

Readhead L & Ten Hoor GA (2018, 31 januari) De kracht van kracht in de gymles op https://www.allesoversport.nl/artikel/de-kracht-van-kracht-in-de-gymles/


Additional materials (In Dutch)

Teachers guidelines motivational intervention

Children’s handbook motivational intervention

Inspirational book strength exercises


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Maastricht University
Gill ten Hoor (UNS40-WSP)
PO BOX 616
6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands

E-mail: krachtvankracht@maastrichtuniversity.nl