Vigorous Physical Activity may be Important for the Insulin Sensitivity in Immigrants From the Middle East and Native Swedes

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Purpose:

To compare physical activity measures and their associations with insulin sensitivity, β-cell function and body mass index (BMI) between Iraqi immigrants and native Swedes.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study of 493 Iraqis (58% men) and 469 Swedes (54% men) aged 30 to 75 years living in the city of Malmö, Sweden. Accelerometry was used for physical activity measures (sedentary time, breaks in sedentary time, moderate and vigorous physical activity, total counts). Insulin sensitivity index and oral disposal index were determined from an oral glucose tolerance test and BMI by body weight and height.

Results:

Iraqi men were less physically active than Swedish men, while the physical activity was more similar in the women. BMI was a strong predictor of insulin sensitivity and β-cell function and frequently associated with the physical activity measures. BMI modified the associations of insulin sensitivity and β-cell function with the physical activity measures to such extent that only VPA and total counts show direct associations with insulin sensitivity in addition to the indirect associations via BMI. Iraqi women demonstrated weaker associations compared with Swedish women.

Conclusions:

Physical activity and performed at vigorous intensity may be important mainly for the insulin sensitivity in Iraqi immigrants and native Swedes.

Arvidsson, J Sundquist, K Sundquist, and Bennet are with the Dept of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden; and the Center for Primary Health Care Research, Region Skåne and Lund University, Malmö Sweden. Lindblad (ulf.lindblad@gu.se) is with the Dept of Primary Health Care, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. Groop is with the Dept of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden; and the Dept of Diabetes and Endocrinology/Lund Diabetes Centre, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden.