Combined effect of physical activity and sedentary behavior on body composition in university students

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Background & aims: This study aimed to evaluate the domain-specific physical activity (PA) levels and sitting time of a sample of university students and examine the association of PA with percent body fat. Methods: Two hundred and twenty-one students were included in the analysis. We administered the long form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) twice within one-month interval. Total PA as well as occupational, transportation-, housework-, and leisure-related PA were assessed, in addition to sitting time. Dietary intake was derived from six non-consecutive 24-hour dietary recalls. Percent body fat (dependent variable) was analyzed using a bioelectrical impedance analyzer (BIA). Multivariate logistic regression, adjusted for potential confounders, examined the associations of domain-specific PA and sitting time with percent body fat. Results: Men had higher levels of total and leisure PA than women. All participants had prolonged sitting time, with 48% having a sitting time of more than 10.15 hours/day. In multivariate analysis, moderate leisure PA, compared to vigorous PA was associated with a lower percent body fat. This association remained statistically significant even after adjustment for energy intake and sitting time. Housework-related PA was associated with a higher percent body fat. Conclusion: Moderate leisure PA was highly associated with percent body fat even after adjustment for confounding variables. Adequate interventions targeting this kind of leisure should be promoted among universities students.




Harmouche-Karaki, M., Mahfouz, M., Mahfouz, Y., Fakhoury-Sayegh, N., & Helou, K. (2019). Combined effect of physical activity and sedentary behavior on body composition in university students. Clinical Nutrition.

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