Aims: To compare the short- and long-term effects of intervention programs on body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors. Methods: 162 obese children (6–11 years) were randomly assigned to three 12-week interventions with a 9-month follow-up period: exercise (E): 90 min moderate exercise 3 days/week (n = 52); diet (D): balanced hypocaloric diet, weekly meetings with dietician (n = 55), and diet + exercise (D+E) (n = 55). Changes in anthropometric variables, cardiometabolic profile and psychological outcome were assessed. Results: At 12 weeks BMI-SDS, cardiometabolic profiles, and psychological score improved in all groups. The decrease in BMI-SDS was greater in D and D+E compared with E (p < 0.001), without a significant difference between the first two groups. Waist circumference and LDL cholesterol decreased more in D+E compared with E (p = 0.026 and p = 0.038, respectively). The increase in adiponectin was greater in D and D+E compared with E (p = 0.004). Anthropometric and cardiometabolic variables regressed without significant differences between groups after 9 months. However, BMI-SDS, body fat percentage and LDL cholesterol were lower compared to baseline. Conclusions: Diet alone or combined with exercise are the most effective short-term interventions for weight loss and improved cardiometabolic profiles, without a difference between them. In the long term, obese children need the long-term support of maintenance approaches.

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