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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Physical Activity in Nonoverweight and Overweight Hispanic Children and Adolescents

Authors
item Butte, Nancy
item Puyau, Maurice - BAYLOR COLLEGE MED
item Adolph, Anne - BAYLOR COLLEGE MED
item Vohra, Firoz - BAYLOR COLLEGE MED
item Zakeri, Issa - BAYLOR COLLEGE MED

Submitted to: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 12, 2007
Publication Date: August 5, 2007
Citation: Butte, N.F., Puyau, M.R., Adolph, A.L., Vohra, F.A., Zakeri, I. 2007. Physical activity in nonoverweight and overweight Hispanic children and adolescents. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 39(8):1257-1266.

Interpretive Summary: Despite the high prevalence of childhood obesity among U.S. Hispanic children and adolescents, data on their patterns and levels of physical activity are scarce. The purpose of this study was 1) to describe qualitatively the types of physical activities in which non-overweight and overweight Hispanic children and adolescents participate; 2) to describe quantitatively the duration, intensity, and frequency of physical activity using accelerometry; 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. We assessed physical activity using accelerometers for three days in 897 non-overweight and overweight Hispanic children, ages 4-19 y. We found that habitual physical activity was weakly associated with adiposity, fitness, and risk for the metabolic syndrome. The types and levels of physical activity were influenced by age, gender, and BMI status. Total physical activity declined markedly with increasing age, and was higher in boys than girls. In general, the physical activities of the entire cohort were intermittent and not sustained for long periods of time. Although there was considerable variability and overlap between non-overweight and overweight children, total activity counts were lower in overweight children. As one of the modifiable factors affecting childhood obesity, efforts should be made to shift the time in sedentary activity to light activity, and to increase the time spent in moderate-vigorous activity in U.S. Hispanic children and adolescents, with special attention given to the overweight, girls, and adolescents.

Technical Abstract: 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. Our objectives were: 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.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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