Physical activity, fitness, and serum leptin concentrations in adolescents

J Pediatr. 2012 Apr;160(4):598-603.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.09.058. Epub 2011 Nov 13.


Objective: To examine the association of physical activity and fitness with leptin concentrations in European adolescents, after taking into account several potential confounders including total body fat (TBF).

Study design: We conducted a cross-sectional study in a school setting for the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence Cross-Sectional Study. This study included 902 (509 girls) adolescents aged 12.5-17.5 years. Weight, height, and TBF (sum of 6 skinfold thickness) were measured, and fat free mass and body mass index were calculated. Physical activity was assessed by accelerometry. Physical fitness was assessed by the handgrip, standing long jump, 4 × 10-m shuttle run, and 20-m shuttle run tests. Serum fasting leptin, insulin, and glucose concentrations were measured, and homeostasis model assessment was computed. Multiple linear regression models were used.

Results: Vigorous physical activity and fitness tests (all P < .05) were negatively associated with leptin, independently of several confounders including TBF and homeostasis model assessment. These associations remained significant after further controlling for each other (physical activity and fitness).

Conclusion: These results suggest that vigorous physical activity and fitness moderate the levels of leptin concentrations, regardless of relevant confounders including TBF. Intervention programs addressed to increase high intensity physical activity and fitness as well as to assess its impact on leptin concentration are required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness*


  • Leptin