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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Aug;39(8):1257-66.

Physical activity in nonoverweight and overweight Hispanic children and adolescents.

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USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Despite the high prevalence of childhood obesity among U.S. Hispanic children and adolescents, quantitative, objective data on their patterns and levels of physical activity are scarce.


1) To describe qualitatively the types of physical activities in which nonoverweight and overweight Hispanic children and adolescents participate; 2) to use accelerometry to quantitatively describe the duration, intensity, and frequency of physical activity; 3) to examine the influence of age, gender, and BMI status on physical activity levels; and 4) to determine the relationships between physical activity and adiposity, fitness, and risk for the metabolic syndrome.


Cross-sectional assessment of physical activity using accelerometers was made for three continuous days in 897 nonoverweight and overweight Hispanic children, ages 4-19 yr. Ancillary measurements included blood pressure, anthropometry, body composition by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, fitness by VO2peak test, and metabolic risk factors, using standard clinical and biochemical methods.


Types and levels of physical activity were influenced by age, gender, and body mass index (BMI) status. Total physical activity counts declined markedly with increasing age (P = 0.001) and were consistently higher in boys than in girls (P = 0.001). Total activity counts were lower (P = 0.002) and sedentary activity counts were higher in overweight than in nonoverweight children (P = 0.001). Sleep duration (min.d(-1)) was slightly lower in overweight compared with nonoverweight children, ages 4-8 yr (P = 0.03). Physical activity levels were significantly associated with percent FM, VO2peak, fasting serum insulin, and waist circumference, although the strength of the associations were generally low.


Efforts should be made to shift the time in sedentary activity to light activity, and to increase the time spent in moderate to vigorous activity in U.S. Hispanic children and adolescents, with special attention given to the overweight, girls, and adolescents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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