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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2006 Dec;14(12):2259-65.

Physical activity compliance: differences between overweight/obese and normal-weight adults.

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  • 1Department of Human Ecology, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA.



Comparisons of physical activity measured by accelerometers in overweight/obese adults and their normal-weight counterparts are limited. Compliance with the 2002 Institute of Medicine (IOM) exercise recommendations for 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily has not been reported. The purpose of this study was to compare physical activity, as measured by accelerometers, in overweight/obese adults vs. normal-weight controls and to assess compliance with recommendations for physical activity by the IOM in 2002 and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American College of Sports Medicine in 1995 for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, preferably all days of the week.


Sixty-two overweight/obese subjects, BMI > or = 25, included 31 adults, 12 men and 19 women, 25 to 69 years old, and their normal-weight controls, BMI 18.5 to 24.9, matched for gender, age, and height. Body composition was assessed using DXA. Physical activity was measured with Actigraph accelerometers (MTI, Fort Walton Beach, FL) worn by each participant for 7 consecutive days.


Accelerometry data indicated that overweight/obese adults recorded approximately 60 counts per minute less per day and spent 21 minutes less engaged in moderate or greater intensity activity than their normal-weight counterparts. Although 71% to 94% of those studied met 1995 recommendations, only 13% of overweight/obese subjects and 26% of normal-weight participants met 2002 exercise recommendations.


These results suggest that daily minutes spent in moderate-intensity activity or greater are associated with weight status and that the 2002 IOM recommendations may be difficult to meet even for normal-weight individuals.

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