The Relationship Between Objectively Measured Physical Activity, Salivary Cortisol, and the Metabolic Syndrome Score in Girls

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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The relationship between physical activity levels, salivary cortisol, and the metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) score was examined. Twenty-three girls (8.4 ± 0.9 years) had a fasting blood draw, waist circumference and blood pressure measured, and wore an ActiGraph accelerometer for 5 days. Saliva samples were collected to measure cortisol levels. Previously established cut points estimated the minutes spent in moderate, vigorous, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. A continuous MetSyn score was created from blood pressure, waist circumference, high-density-lipoprotein (HDL), triglyceride, and glucose values. Correlation analyses examined associations between physical activity, cortisol, the MetSyn score, and its related components. Regression analysis examined the relationship between cortisol, the MetSyn score, and its related components adjusting for physical activity, percent body fat, and sexual maturity. Vigorous physical activity was positively related with 30 min post waking cortisol values. The MetSyn score was not related with cortisol values after controlling for confounders. In contrast, HDL was negatively related with 30 min post waking cortisol. Triglyceride was positively related with 30 min post waking cortisol and area under the curve. The MetSyn score and many of its components were not related to cortisol salivary levels even after adjusting for physical activity, body fat percentage, and sexual maturity.

DuBose is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. McKune is with the Discipline of Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Address author correspondence to Katrina D. DuBose at

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