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Britni R. Belcher, Richard P. Moser, Kevin W. Dodd, Audie Atienza, Rachel Ballard-Barbash and David Berrigan


Discrepancies in self-report and accelerometer-measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) may influence relationships with obesity-related biomarkers in youth.


Data came from 2003–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) for 2174 youth ages 12 to 19. Biomarkers were: body mass index (BMI, kg/m2), BMI percentile, height and waist circumference (WC, cm), triceps and subscapular skinfolds (mm), systolic & diastolic blood pressure (BP, mmHg), high-density lipoprotein (HDL, mg/dL), total cholesterol (mg/dL), triglycerides (mg/dL), insulin (μU/ml), C-reactive protein (mg/dL), and glycohemoglobin (%). In separate sex-stratified models, each biomarker was regressed on accelerometer variables [mean MVPA (min/day), nonsedentary counts, and MVPA bouts (mean min/day)] and self-reported MVPA. Covariates were age, race/ethnicity, SES, physical limitations, and asthma.


In boys, correlations between self-report and accelerometer MVPA were stronger (boys: r = 0.14−0.21; girls: r = 0.07−0.11; P < .010) and there were significant associations with BMI, WC, triceps skinfold, and SBP and accelerometer MVPA (P < .01). In girls, there were no significant associations between biomarkers and any measures of physical activity.


Physical activity measures should be selected based on the outcome of interest and study population; however, associations between PA and these biomarkers appear to be weak regardless of the measure used.