Combined Physical Activity/Sedentary Behavior Associations With Indices of Adiposity in 8- to 10-Year-Old Children

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Individuals may achieve high physical activity (PA) yet also be highly sedentary (SED). This study assessed adiposity in children classified by PA/SED groups.


Participants were 520 8- to 10-year-old children with ≥ 1 obese parent. Moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) and SED were measured by accelerometer, and screen-time was measured by self-report. Height, weight, waist circumference (WC), body fat percentage (BF%), and VO2peak were objectively measured; energy intake was measured by dietary recall. Elevated adiposity was defined as BMI ≥ 85th percentile, WC ≥ 90th percentile, BF% ≥ 85th percentile, or waist-to-height ratio (WHR) ≥ 0.5.


Up to 27% of boys and 15% of girls were active/SED. Adiposity was lowest for active/non-SED, highest for inactive/SED, and intermediate and similar for active/SED and inactive/non-SED. Using 60 min/d MVPA and 2 h/d screen-time cut-offs, prevalence ranges for elevated adiposity in the active/non-SED, active/SED, inactive/non-SED, and inactive/SED groups were 0% to 14%, 15% to 44%, 16% to 40%, and 32% to 51%, respectively. Corresponding odds and 95% confidence intervals of being overweight/obese for the latter groups were 3.8 (95% CI, 1.7−8.4), 3.8 (1.8−8.2), and 4.9 (2.3−10.3) versus active/non-SED. PA/SED-adiposity associations were mediated by fitness but not energy intake.


Combined PA/SED levels are strongly associated with adiposity in children, but associations are mediated by fitness. Active children who accumulate >2 h/d of screen time and inactive children are equally likely to be overweight/obese.

Herman ( was with the Dept of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Chaput is with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Sabiston is with the Dept of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Mathieu is with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Tremblay is with the Dept of Kinesiology, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Paradis is with the Dept of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.