Active children are less adipose and insulin resistant in early adolescence: evidence from the Mysore Parthenon cohort

Sarah Kehoe, Ghattu V. Krishnaveni, Sargoor Veena, Krishnarajasagara N. Kiran, Samuel C. Karat, Asha Dhubey, Patricia Coakley, Caroline Fall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: the aim of this study was to determine whether physical activity volume and intensity in mid-childhood and early adolescence were associated with cardiometabolic risk factors at 13.5 years.

Methods: participants were recruited from the Mysore Parthenon observational birth cohort. At ages 6-10 and 11-13 years, volume and intensity of physical activity were assessed using AM7164 or GT1M actigraph accelerometers worn for ?4 days, and expressed as mean counts per day and percentage time spent in light, moderate and vigorous physical activity according to criteria defined by Evenson et al. At 13.5 years, fasting blood samples were collected; lipids, glucose and insulin concentrations were measured and insulin resistance (HOMA) was calculated. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were measured at the left arm using a Dinamap (Criticon). Anthropometry and bio-impedance analysis were used to assess body size and composition. Metabolic and anthropometric measures were combined to produce a metabolic syndrome risk score.

Results: at 6-10 years, boys and girls respectively spent a median (IQR) of 1.1 (0.5, 2.0) .8 (0.4, 1.3) 1-13 years, boys and girls respectively spent a median (IQR) of 0.8 (0.4, 1.7) .3 (0.1, 0.6) -10 year and the 11-13 year measurements indicating that physical activity tracked from childhood to early adolescence. There were no associations between physical activity at 6-10 years and individual 13.5 year risk factors but B=-0.40, 950.75, 0.05). Volume of physical activity at 11-13 years was inversely associated with 13.5 year HOMA and fat percentage and vigorous physical activity was associated with HOMA, fat percentage, sum of skinfolds, waist circumference and total: HDL cholesterol ratio. Vigorous physical activity was inversely associated with metabolic syndrome score (B=-0.51, 950.94,-0.08).

Conclusions: volume and intensity of physical activity in early adolescence were negatively associated with metabolic and anthropometric risk factors. Interventions that aim to increase physical activity, especially vigorous, may prevent cardiometabolic disease in later life.
Original languageEnglish
Article number503
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019


  • Adolescent
  • Cardiometabolic risk
  • Children
  • India
  • Insulin resistance
  • Physical activity


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