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PLoS One. 2010 Oct 18;5(10):e13435. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013435.

Adiposity and age explain most of the association between physical activity and fitness in physically active men.

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  • 1Department of Physical Education, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.



To determine if there is an association between physical activity assessed by the short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness.


One hundred and eighty-two young males (age range: 20-55 years) completed the short form of the IPAQ to assess physical activity. Body composition (dual-energy X-Ray absorptiometry), muscular fitness (static and dynamic muscle force and power, vertical jump height, running speed [30 m sprint], anaerobic capacity [300 m running test]) and cardiorespiratory fitness (estimated VO(2)max: 20 m shuttle run test) were also determined in all subjects. Activity-related energy expenditure of moderate and vigorous intensity (EEPA(moderate) and EEPA(vigorous), respectively) was inversely associated with indices of adiposity (r = -0.21 to -0.37, P<0.05). Cardiorespiratory fitness (VO(2)max) was positively associated with LogEEPA(moderate) (r = 0.26, P<0.05) and LogEEPA(vigorous) (r = 0.27). However, no association between VO(2)max with LogEEPA(moderate), LogEPPA(vigorous) and LogEEPA(total) was observed after adjusting for the percentage of body fat. Multiple stepwise regression analysis to predict VO(2)max from LogEEPA(walking), LogEEPA(moderate), LogEEPA(vigorous), LogEEPA(total), age and percentage of body fat (%fat) showed that the %fat alone explained 62% of the variance in VO(2)max and that the age added another 10%, while the other variables did not add predictive value to the model [VO(2)max  = 129.6-(25.1× Log %fat) - (34.0× Log age); SEE: 4.3 min(-1); R(2) = 0.72 (P<0.05)]. No positive association between muscular fitness-related variables and physical activity was observed, even after adjusting for body fat or body fat and age.


Adiposity and age are the strongest predictors of VO(2)max in healthy men. The energy expended in moderate and vigorous physical activities is inversely associated with adiposity. Muscular fitness does not appear to be associated with physical activity as assessed by the IPAQ.

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