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Ethn Dis. 2011 Autumn;21(4):458-61.

Physical inactivity, but not sedentary behavior or energy intake, is associated with higher fat mass in Latina and African American girls.

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  • 1Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California 94305-1334, USA.



Minority girls are disproportionately affected by overweight and obesity. The independent effects of physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior (SB), and diet are not well understood.


This study examined the individual influences of PA, SB and diet on fat mass in Latina and African American (AA) girls, aged 8-11.


Baseline data from a longitudinal cohort study in minority girls is presented. Multiple linear regression analysis assessed the effects of PA, SB, and energy intake on fat mass, adjusting for lean mass, age, Tanner stage and ethnicity.


Participants were 53 Latina and AA girls (77% Latina; M age=9.8 +/- .9; M(BMI%)=80.8 +/- 23.1). Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) by accelerometry (beta= -.13, P<.01) and lean mass (beta=.69, P<.001) were associated with fat mass (Model R2=.63; P<.0001). MVPA by 3-day-physical-activity-recall (beta=-.04, P=.01) and lean mass (beta=.75, P<.001) were associated with fat mass (Model R2=.61; P<.0001). SB and energy intake were not associated with fat mass in any model.


Using both objective and subjective measures of PA, MVPA, but not SB or diet, was associated with higher fat mass in Latina and AA girls, independent of lean mass, age, Tanner stage, and ethnicity. Prospective studies are needed to clarify the differential impact of diet and activity levels on adiposity in this population.

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