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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2013 May;38(5):477-83. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2012-0382. Epub 2013 Jan 21.

Combined associations between moderate to vigorous physical activity and sedentary behaviour with cardiometabolic risk factors in children.

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  • 1Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, 401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


The objective of this study was to examine the combined associations between time spent in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) and time spent sedentary in relation to cardiometabolic risk factors in a cohort of Canadian children. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 536 white children aged 8-10 years with at least 1 obese biological parent. Time spent in MVPA and sedentary behaviour over 7 days was measured using accelerometry and participants were stratified by tertiles. Daily screen time over 7 days was also self-reported by the child. Outcomes included waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and glucose concentrations. Analyses of covariance comparing tertiles of sedentary time/MVPA showed that higher levels of MVPA were associated with lower waist circumference, fasting triglycerides and diastolic blood pressure, and higher high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, irrespective of sedentary time. In linear regression, MVPA was inversely associated with waist circumference and diastolic blood pressure and positively associated with HDL cholesterol, independent of covariates including sedentary time. In contrast, sedentary time was positively associated with diastolic blood pressure but after adjustment for MVPA the association was no longer statistically significant. Self-reported screen time was positively associated with waist circumference and negatively associated with HDL cholesterol independent of covariates including MVPA. Overall, a high level of MVPA was associated with reduced cardiometabolic risk in this sample of children, regardless of their amount of sedentary behaviour. The type of sedentary behaviour (i.e., screen time) might be more important than overall sedentary time in relation to cardiometabolic risk.

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