Associations between objectively measured habitual physical activity and adiposity in children and adolescents: systematic review

David Jiménez-Pavón, Joanna Kelly, John J Reilly

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287 Citations (Scopus)


s review examined recent evidence on associations between objectively measured habitual physical activity and adiposity. A search for observational studies was carried out using several electronic databases from June 2004–June 2008. Of 1 255 potentially eligible papers, 47 papers were included, which described 48 studies. Most studies (41/48; 85%) were cross-sectional and 31/48 (65%) used proxies for adiposity, such as body mass index (BMI) or BMI z-score as the outcome measure. Few studies (10%; 5/48) focused on pre-school children. There was consistent evidence of negative associations between objectively measured physical activity and adiposity: significant negative associations were observed in 38/48 (79%) of studies overall. The present review supports the hypothesis that higher levels of habitual physical activity are protective against child and adolescent obesity. However, prospective longitudinal studies are warranted; there is a need for more research on younger children, and for more ‘dose-response’ evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-18
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Obesity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • physical activity
  • obesity
  • overweight
  • accelerometer
  • pedometer
  • heart rate
  • body mass index

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