The objectives of this study were to identify the independent effect of physical activity and fitness on insulin dynamics in a cohort of European-, African-, and Hispanic-American children (n = 215) age 7–12 years and to determine if racial/ethnic differences in insulin dynamics could be statistically explained by racial/ethnic differences in physical activity or fitness. An intravenous glucose tolerance test and minimal modeling were used to derive the insulin sensitivity index (SI) and acute insulin response to glucose (AIRg). Fitness was assessed as VO2-170 and physical activity by accelerometer. Multiple regression models were tested for contributions of fitness and physical activity to SI and AIRg. Fitness was a stronger predictor of SI and AIRg than physical activity regardless of ethnicity; racial/ethnic differences in insulin dynamics were not accounted for by differences in fitness and/or physical activity.
Casazza, Gower, Willig, Hunter, and Fernández are with the Dept. of Nutrition Sciences and Clinical Nutrition Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-3360.