Healthy obesity and objective physical activity
journal contributionposted on 20.10.2015, 13:44 authored by Joshua A. Bell, Mark Hamer, Vincent T. van Hees, Archana Singh-Manoux, Mika Kivimaki, Severine Sabia
Background: Disease risk is lower in metabolically healthy obese adults than in their unhealthy obese counterparts. Studies considering physical activity as a modifiable determinant of healthy obesity have relied on self-reported measures, which are prone to inaccuracies and do not capture all movements that contribute to health. Objective: We aimed to examine differences in total and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity between healthy and unhealthy obese groups by using both self-report and wrist-worn accelerometer assessments. Design: Cross-sectional analyses were based on 3457 adults aged 60–82 y (77% male) participating in the British Whitehall II cohort study in 2012–2013. Normal-weight, overweight, and obese adults were considered “healthy” if they had <2 of the following risk factors: low HDL cholesterol, hypertension, high blood glucose, high triacylglycerol, and insulin resistance. Differences across groups in total physical activity, based on questionnaire and wrist-worn triaxial accelerometer assessments (GENEActiv), were examined by using linear regression. The likelihood of meeting 2010 World Health Organization recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous activity (≥2.5 h/wk) was compared by using prevalence ratios. Results: Of 3457 adults, 616 were obese [body mass index (in kg/m2) ≥30]; 161 (26%) of those were healthy obese. Obese adults were less physically active than were normal-weight adults, regardless of metabolic health status or method of physical activity assessment. Healthy obese adults had higher total physical activity than did unhealthy obese adults only when assessed by accelerometer (P = 0.002). Healthy obese adults were less likely to meet recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity than were healthy normal-weight adults based on accelerometer assessment (prevalence ratio: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.43, 0.79) but were not more likely to meet these recommendations than were unhealthy obese adults (prevalence ratio: 1.26; 95% CI: 0.89, 1.80). Conclusions: Higher total physical activity in healthy than in unhealthy obese adults is evident only when measured objectively, which suggests that physical activity has a greater role in promoting health among obese populations than previously thought.
This paper was supported by an Economic and Social Research Council studentship (to JAB); the Medical Research Council (MR/K013351/1); the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01HL36310); the US NIH National Institute on Aging (R01AG034454), the Academy of Finland, and an Economic and Social Research Council professorial fellowship (ES/J023299/1) (to MK); the British Heart Foundation (RE/10/005/28296; to MH); the US NIH National Institute on Aging (R01AG013196; R01AG034454; to ASM); and the NIH National Institute on Aging (R01AG034454) and Economic and Social Research Council (ES/J023299/1) (to SS).
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences