Associations Between Physical Activity, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and Abdominal Obesity With Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Inactive Obese Women
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Over the past several decades abdominal obesity and physical inactivity have increased at an alarming pace. Since both are related to adverse health risk it is important to determine their independent influence. It is well established that cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF, the ability to perform physical activity) and physical activity (PA) are negatively associated with cardiometabolic risk factors (commonly obtained risk factors for disease, e.g: TG, HDL, etc.). In other words, the higher a person’s levels of PA and fitness, the lower that person’s likelihood of developing cardiometabolic risk factors. Abdominal obesity is positively associated with cardiometabolic risk factors which means the more abdominally obese a person is, the more prone that person is to develop cardiometabolic risk factors. However, it is unknown whether PA influences cardiometabolic risk factors independent of fitness level and/or abdominal obesity. My study objective was to examine whether PA is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors independent of cardiorespiratory fitness and/or abdominal obesity in inactive abdominally obese women. The study enrolled 141 inactive abdominally obese women. PA, cardiorespiratory fitness, and cardiometabolic risk profile were measured in all participants. A novel feature of this study was the use of the accelerometer to objectively measure PA and to divide exercise into different levels of intensity, such as: low PA, moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA), etc. My findings revealed that abdominal obesity was positively associated with cardiometabolic risk independent of PA or CRF. I also observed that CRF was inversely related to cardiometabolic risk independent of PA or abdominal obesity. MVPA explained cardiometabolic risk factors by itself, but with insulin resistance measurements (2-hour glucose, and homeostasis model of assessment) this relationship was abolished when abdominal obesity and CRF were also taken into consideration. The findings of this study provide further support for the recommendation that waist circumference and CRF be included as routine measures screening for cardiometabolic risk factors in inactive obese women. Our findings also support the suggestion that even modest amounts of daily MVPA that are below the recommended threshold of 30 minutes/day convey health benefit.