Associations between physical activity (PA) intensity and volume and adolescents’ cardiometabolic health have research, policy, and practice implications. This study compares associations between cardiometabolic risk factors and 1) moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) minutes versus total PA volume (accelerometer-derived total activity counts, TAC) and 2) light PA volume (counts at light intensity, L-TAC) versus moderate-to-vigorous PA volume (counts at moderate-to-vigorous intensity, MV-TAC).
2105 adolescents from 2003– 2006 NHANES were included. Independent variables were MVPA minutes, TAC, L-TAC, and MV-TAC. Regression models tested associations between PA variables and continuous metabolic risk index (CMRI), waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, HDL, insulin, and triglycerides.
TAC demonstrated a slightly stronger inverse association with CMRI (P = .004) than did MVPA (P = .013). TAC and MVPA were both associated with systolic and diastolic pressure, HDL, and insulin; associations were similar or slightly stronger for TAC. L-TAC and MV-TAC were both associated with CMRI and HDL. Only L-TAC was associated with diastolic pressure. Only MV-TAC was associated with waist circumference, systolic pressure, and insulin.
Compared with MVPA minutes, TAC demonstrates similar or slightly stronger associations with cardiometabolic risk factors. L-TAC and MV-TAC appear similarly associated with adolescents’ clustered risk but differently associated with individual risk factors.