Active lifestyle in childhood and adolescence prevents obesity development in young adulthood

Soyang Kwon*, Kathleen F. Janz, Elena M. Letuchy, Trudy L. Burns, Steven M. Levy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective To test the hypothesis that individuals who are active but who decrease physical activity (PA) over time have a higher risk of becoming obese in young adulthood, when compared to individuals who are consistently active throughout childhood and adolescence. Methods Iowa Bone Development Study cohort members (242 males and 251 females) participated in accelerometry assessments, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans, and dietary questionnaire surveys at ages 5, 8, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19 years. Group-based trajectory analyses identified distinct trajectory patterns of moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA (MVPA), percentage of body fat, and energy intake. A multivariable logistic regression model was fit to estimate the odds of "becoming obese" based on the MVPA trajectories, adjusted for mother's education, somatic maturation, and energy intake. Results Among males, 74.7% had a "normal" body fat pattern, 14.6% had a "becoming obese" pattern, and 10.7% had a "consistently obese" pattern, while among females, the percentages were 58.6%, 28.6%, and 12.8%, respectively. Participants who were active (≥45 min MVPA) as children but decreased MVPA with age were more likely to become obese, compared to consistently active participants (adjusted OR = 2.77; 95% CI = 1.16, 6.58). Conclusions An active lifestyle throughout childhood and adolescence could prevent obesity development in young adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2462-2469
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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