Associations of body size and composition with physical activity in adolescent girls

Timothy G. Lohman, Kimberly Ring, Kathryn H. Schmitz, Margarita S. Treuth, Mark Loftin, Song Yang, Melinda Sothern, Scott Going

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine whether components of body composition (size, fat mass, and fat-free mass) were related to physical activity. Methods: A random sample of 60 eligible sixth grade girls at each of 36 schools (six schools per region and six regions in total sample); complete measurements on 1553 girls. Physical activity was assessed over 6 d in each girl using an accelerometer, and body composition was assessed using a multiple regression equation using body mass index and triceps skinfold. Minutes of moderate-to-vigorous and vigorous physical activity were estimated from accelerometer counts per 30 s above threshold values determined from a previous study. Results: Significant inverse relationships were found for all measures of body size and composition and all physical activity indices. The combination of fat and fat-free mass expressed as a weight and as an index (divided by height squared) along with race, SES, site, and school were most highly associated with physical activity in multiple regression analysis, accounting for 14-15% of the variance in physical activity. Fat mass was more closely related to moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and vigorous physical activity (VPA) than fat-free mass with higher standardized regression coefficients. Conclusion: We conclude that both fat mass or fat mass index as well as fat-free mass or fat-free mass index make independent contributions in association with physical activity levels. These indices are recommended for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1175-1181
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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