The Independent Influence of Physical Inactivity and Obesity on Health Complaints in 6th to 10th Grade Canadian Youth

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The purpose of this study was to examine the independent influence of physical inactivity and obesity on health complaints in school-aged youth.


The findings are based on Canadian records from the 2001-2002 Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Survey. The study cohort consisted of 5673 youth in grades 6 to 10. Body weight and height (used to calculate body mass index and adiposity level), physical activity, and somatic (physical) and psychological health complaints were measured by questionnaire. General linear models were used to characterize the associations between physical activity and adiposity with somatic and psychological health complaints.


In boys and girls, adiposity level alone was independently associated with somatic health complaints, whereas both physical activity level and adiposity level were independently associated with psychological health complaints.


The findings suggest that the prevention and treatment of both physical inactivity and obesity are important in school-aged youth.

The authors are with the Dept of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6. Janssen and Katzmarzyk are also with the university’s School of Physical and Health Education. Boyce is also with the university’s Social Program Evaluation Group in the Faculty of Education and the Centre for Health Services Policy and Research. Pickett is also with the university’s Dept of Emergency Medicine.

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