Is adiposity associated with objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behaviors in older adults?

Academic Article


  • Background: Many older adults in the U.S. do not achieve the recommended amount of physical activity (PA) to fully realize a myriad of health benefits. Adiposity is one of those important correlates of PA and sedentary behaviors. However, the full extent to which adiposity is associated with PA and stationary time (STA) is uncertain. Therefore, we examined the association of adiposity with objectively measured PA and STA in black and white older adults. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of older adults enrolled in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study 2003-2007 who participated in an ancillary accelerometer study 2009-2013. Assessment of body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) was completed during an in-home visit in the parent study. PA was measured by Acticalâ„¢ accelerometers, which provided estimates of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity PA (MVPA), light-intensity PA (LPA), and STA for 4-7 consecutive days. Data from accelerometers were standardized to square root percentages of total wear time per day (SqrtMVPA%, SqrtLPA%, and SqrtSTA%). Interactions were tested for BMI and WC by race and sex, separately. Results: Data were available for 7873 participants (69.8 ± 8.7 yr, 54.2% women, 31.5% African American). In mixed linear regression models, significant interactions existed in BMI by race and sex for the SqrtMVPA%, WC by race and sex for the SqrtMVPA% and the SqrtLPA% model(p < 0.05). No interaction was significant for the logistic model of meeting the PA guideline or not. In subgroup analyses, BMI was inversely associated with SqrtMVPA%, SqrtLPA%, and positively related to SqrtSTA% in black women, white men and white women after adjustments. Similar patterns were observed between WC and SqrtMVPA%, SqrtLPA%, and SqrtSTA% in all groups, respectively. However, BMI was not associated with SqrtMVPA% in black men. Those with higher BMI or WC were less likely to meet the PA guideline in all groups. Conclusions: Adiposity was inversely associated with higher levels of MVPA/LPA and positively associated with higher levels of STA among black and white older adults. Prevention efforts aimed at promoting weight control may be beneficial to prevent physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyle among older adults.
  • Published In

  • BMC Geriatrics  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zhu W; Cheng Z; Howard VJ; Judd SE; Blair SN; Sun Y; Hooker SP
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 1