This study aimed to analyze the independent associations of accelerometer-determined sedentary behavior, physical activity, and steps/day with body composition variables in Brazilian children. 485 children wore accelerometers for 7 days. Variables included time in sedentary behavior and different physical activity intensities (light, moderate, vigorous, or moderate-to-vigorous) and steps/day. Body fat percentage was measured using a bioelectrical impedance scale, and BMI was calculated. Children spent 55.7% of the awake portion of the day in sedentary behavior, 37.6% in light physical activity, 4.6% in moderate physical activity, and 1.9% in vigorous physical activity. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and steps/day were negatively associated with body composition (BMI and body fat percentage) variables, independent of sex and sedentary behavior. Beta values were higher for vigorous physical activity than moderate physical activity. Vigorous physical activity was negatively associated with BMI (β-.1425) and body fat percentage (β-.3082; p < .0001). In boys, there were significant negative associations between moderate, vigorous, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and steps/day with body composition, and in girls, there was only a negative association with vigorous physical activity, independent of sedentary behavior. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and steps/day (in boys), but especially vigorous physical activity (in boys and girls), are associated with body composition, independent of sedentary behavior. Sedentary behavior was not related with any of the body composition variables once adjusted for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
Ferrari, Oliveria, Araujo, and Matsudo are with the CELAFISCS, Sao Caetano do Sul, Brazil. Barreira, Tudor-Locke, and Katzmarzyk are with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA.