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Ian Janssen, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, William F. Boyce and William Pickett


The purpose of this study was to examine the independent influence of physical inactivity and obesity on health complaints in school-aged youth.


The findings are based on Canadian records from the 2001-2002 Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Survey. The study cohort consisted of 5673 youth in grades 6 to 10. Body weight and height (used to calculate body mass index and adiposity level), physical activity, and somatic (physical) and psychological health complaints were measured by questionnaire. General linear models were used to characterize the associations between physical activity and adiposity with somatic and psychological health complaints.


In boys and girls, adiposity level alone was independently associated with somatic health complaints, whereas both physical activity level and adiposity level were independently associated with psychological health complaints.


The findings suggest that the prevention and treatment of both physical inactivity and obesity are important in school-aged youth.