The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between sedentary behavior and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), measured by accelerometry, with body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference in 357 preschool children. Linear mixed models were used adjusting for race/ethnicity, parental education, and preschool. Follow-up analyses were performed using quantile regression. Among boys, MVPA was positively associated with BMI z-score (b = 0.080, p = .04) but not with waist circumference; quantile regression showed that MVPA was positively associated with BMI z-score at the 50th percentile (b = 0.097, p < .05). Among girls, no associations were observed between sedentary behavior and MVPA in relation to mean BMI z-score and mean waist circumference. Quantile regression indicated that, among girls at the 90th waist circumference percentile, a positive association was found with sedentary behavior (b = 0.441, p < .05), and a negative association was observed with MVPA (b = −0.599, p < .05); no associations were found with BMI z-score. In conclusion, MVPA was positively associated with BMI z-score among boys, and MVPA was negatively associated and sedentary behavior was positively associated with waist circumference among girls at the 90th percentile.
España-Romero, Mitchell, Dowda, O’Neill, and Pate are with the Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Espana-Romero is also with MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UK.