Research Study Abstract

Patterns of Objectively Measured Physical Activity in Normal Weight, Overweight, and Obese Individuals (20–85 Years): A Cross-Sectional Study

  • Published on January 7, 2013

Background The magnitude of the association between physical activity (PA) and obesity has been difficult to establish using questionnaires. The aim of the study was to evaluate patterns of PA across BMI-defined weight categories and to examine the independent contribution of PA on weight status, using accelerometers.

Methods The study was a cross-sectional population-based study of 3,867 adults and older people aged 20–85 years, living in Norway. PA was assessed for seven consecutive days using the ActiGraph GT1M accelerometer. Anthropometrical data was self-reported and overweight and obesity was defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25–<30 and ≥30 kg/m2, respectively.

Results Overweight and obese participants performed less overall PA and PA of at least moderate intensity and took fewer steps, compared to normal weight participants. Although overall PA did not differ between weekdays and weekends, an interaction between BMI category and type of day was present, indicating a larger difference in overall PA between BMI categories on weekends compared to weekdays. Obese participants displayed 19% and 25% lower overall physical activity compared to normal weight participants, on weekdays and weekends, respectively. Participants in the most active quintile of overall PA had a 53% lower risk (OR 0.47, 95% CI: 0.37 to 0.60) for having a BMI above or below 25 kg/m2, and a 71% lower risk (OR: 0.29, 95% CI: 0.20 to 0.44) for having a BMI above or below 30 kg/m2.

Conclusions Overweight and obese participants engaged in less overall PA and moderate and vigorous PA compared with normal weight individuals. The weight related differences in overall PA were most pronounced on the weekend and the risk of being overweight or obese decreases across quintiles of PA.


PLoS ONE 8(1): e53044