The Stress-Metabolic Syndrome Relationship in Adolescents: An Examination of the Moderating Potential of Physical Activity

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The role of psychosocial stress in the development of obesity and metabolic syndrome is receiving increased attention and has led to examination of whether physical activity may moderate the stress-metabolic syndrome relationship. The current study examined relationships among physical activity, stress, and metabolic syndrome in adolescents.


Participants (N = 126; 57 girls, 69 boys) were assessed for anthropometry, psychosocial stress, physical activity, and metabolic syndrome variables; t tests were used to examine sex differences, and regression analysis was used to assess relationships among variables controlling for sex and maturity status.


Mean body mass index approached the 75th percentile for both sexes. Typical sex differences were observed for systolic blood pressure, time spent in moderate and vigorous physical activity, and perceived stress. Although stress was not associated with MetS (β = –.001, P = .82), a modest, positive relationship was observed with BMI (β = .20, P = .04).


Strong relationships between physical activity and stress with MetS or BMI were not found in this sample. Results may be partially explained by overall good physical health status of the participants. Additional research in groups exhibiting varying degrees of health is needed.

Holmes is with the Dept of Kinesiology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS. Pivarnik, Pfeiffer, Eisenmann, and Ewing are with the Dept of Kinesiology, and Maier is with the Dept of Measurement & Quantitative Methods, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Holmes ( is corresponding author.