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The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between intensity of physical activity (PA) and body composition in 343 young women.
Physical activity was objectively measured using accelerometers worn for 7 days in women 17 to 25 years. Body composition was assessed using the BOD POD.
Young women who spent less than 30 minutes a week performing vigorous PA had significantly higher body fat percentages than women who performed more than 30 minutes of vigorous PA per week (F = 4.54, P = .0113). Young women who spent less than 30 minutes per day in moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) had significantly higher body fat percentages than those who obtained more than 30 minutes per day of MVPA (F = 7.47, P = .0066). Accumulating more than 90 minutes of MVPA per day was associated with the lowest percent body fat. For every 10 minutes spent in MVPA per day, the odds of having a body fat percentage above 32% decreased by 29% (P = .0002).
Vigorous PA and MVPA are associated with lower adiposity. Young women should be encouraged to accumulate at least 30 minutes of MVPA per day, however getting more than 90 minutes a day is predictive of even lower levels of adiposity.
The authors are with the Dept of Exercise Sciences, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.