A longitudinal study of sedentary behavior and overweight in adolescent girls

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 May;17(5):1003-8. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.598. Epub 2009 Jan 22.


The aim of this study is to examine sedentary and light activity in relation to overweight in adolescent girls. Adolescent girls were randomly recruited from 36 schools participating in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG). Assessments included age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and body composition estimated from weight, height, and triceps skinfold. Sedentary and light activity was measured for 6 days using accelerometry in 6th and in 8th grade among two randomly sampled cross-sections of girls. Sedentary activity increased from the 6th to 8th grade by 51.5 min/day. In the 8th grade, a significantly higher number of hours in sedentary activity for each of the 6-days of measurement were evident with higher tertiles of percent body fat (30-35%, >35% fat) (P < 0.05), but not across all increasing tertiles of BMI (5th to 85th, 85th to 95th, and >95th percentiles). The increase in sedentary activity was observed on weekdays, but not on weekends for percent body fat tertiles. In the cohort of girls measured in both 6th and 8th grades, the mean cross-sectional coefficient estimates were significant for percent body fat, but not BMI for sedentary and light activities. Adolescent girls from the 6th to 8th grade are shifting their time from light to more sedentary activity as measured by accelerometers. In addition, the increase in sedentary activity is not associated with an adverse effect on BMI or percent body fat. The eventual impact of this shift to a more sedentary lifestyle on body composition and other outcomes needs to be evaluated further.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires