Abstract MP028: Physical Activity Relates to Lower Visceral Adiposity in Children and Adolescents
Introduction: Expansion of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) associates with adverse metabolic changes. While regular moderate-to-vigorous activity is associated with lower total body fat in children and adolescents, it is unknown how physical activity relates to other adiposity indices, including VAT.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized that regular physical activity in children and adolescents associates with lower body fat, percent body fat, abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and VAT.
Methods: The sample included 393 boys and girls aged 5–18 years (45.6% White, 50.6% African American, and 3.8% Other). Body fat and percent body fat were measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Abdominal SAT and VAT mass were measured by magnetic resonance imaging between the highest point of the liver and the lower pole of the right kidney (using 5 to 8 cross-sectional slices, 4.76 cm apart). Participants were categorized as being regularly active by self-report: moderate-to-vigorous physical activity of ≥ 60 minutes/day, ≥ 4 days/week. Those who were physically active fewer than 4 days/week were categorized as not regularly active.
Results: In this sample of children and adolescents, 45.6% of participants were regularly active. One-way ANCOVAs adjusted for age and sex demonstrated that regularly active youth had significantly less body fat (p<0.01) and lower percent body fat (p<0.01) than those who were not regularly active. One-way ANCOVAs adjusted for age, gender, and body fat, revealed that regularly active children and adolescents had no difference in SAT but had significantly lower amounts of VAT (p<0.05) when compared to those who were not regularly active.
Conclusion: Engagement in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes on four or more days of the week in children and adolescents was related to lower body fat, percent body fat and VAT, when compared to those youth who were less active. The promotion of regular physical activity has significant public health implications for body fat accumulation and for controlling excess VAT during childhood and adolescence.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.