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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Dec;46(12):2295-300. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000357.

Light-intensity physical activity is associated with adiposity in adolescent females.

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14i Research Centre, Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, Limerick, IRELAND; 2Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, IRELAND; and 3Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester, Leicester, UNITED KINGDOM.



Sedentary behavior (SB) research has relied on accelerometer thresholds to distinguish between sitting/lying time (SLT) and light-intensity physical activity (LIPA). Such methods may misclassify SLT, standing time (StT), and LIPA. This study examines the association between directly measured SB, physical activity (PA), and adiposity in an adolescent female sample.


Female adolescents (n = 195; mean age, 15.7 yr (SD, 0.9)) had body mass index (BMI) (median, 21.7 kg·m (interquartile range, 5.2 kg·m)) and four-site sum of skinfolds (median, 62.0 mm; interquartile range, 37.1 mm) measured and wore an activPAL™ activity monitor for 7 d. SLT, StT, breaks in SLT, and bouts of SLT <30 and ≥30 min were determined from activPAL outputs. A threshold of 2997 counts per 15 s determined moderate-to-vigorous PA. All remaining time was quantified as LIPA. Mixed linear regression models examined associations between PA variables, SB variables, and adiposity.


Participants spent a mean of 65.3% (SD, 7.1) of the waking day in SLT, 23.0% (SD, 5.3) in StT, 5.6% (SD, 1.5) in LIPA, and 6.1% (SD, 2.4) in moderate-to-vigorous PA. Significant effects for the percentage of LIPA (which excluded StT) with both BMI (β = -4.38, P = 0.0006) and sum of skinfolds (β = -4.05, P = 0.006) were identified. Significant effects for breaks in SLT with BMI (β = -0.30, P = 0.04) were also observed. No additional significant associations were found between activity measures and adiposity.


Increased LIPA (excluding StT) and breaks in SLT were negatively associated with adiposity in this sample, independent of age. Interventional work should examine whether reducing SLT through breaks and increasing LIPA may prevent increases in adiposity in adolescent females.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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