Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity with accelerometry is associated with visceral adipose tissue in adults

J Am Heart Assoc. 2015 Mar 3;4(3):e001379. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.114.001379.


Background: We examined the relation between objectively measured physical activity with accelerometry and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) in a community-based sample.

Methods and results: We evaluated 1249 participants of the Framingham Third Generation and Omni II cohorts (mean age 51.7 years, 47% women) who underwent assessment of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) with accelerometry over 5 to 7 days, and multi-detector computed tomography for measurement of SAT and VAT volume; fat attenuation was estimated by SAT and VAT hounsfield units (HU). In women, higher levels of MVPA were associated with decreased SAT (P<0.0001) and VAT volume (P<0.0001). The average decrement in VAT per 30 minute/day increase in MVPA was -453 cm(3) (95% CI -574, -331). The association was attenuated but persisted upon adjustment for BMI (-122 cm(3), P=0.002). Higher levels of MVPA were associated with higher SAT HU (all P≤0.01), a marker of fat quality, even after adjustment for SAT volume. Similar findings were observed in men but the magnitude of the association was less. Sedentary time was not associated with SAT or VAT volume or quality in men or women.

Conclusions: MVPA was associated with less VAT and SAT and better fat quality.

Keywords: accelerometry; physical activity; visceral adipose tissue.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy*
  • Adiposity*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Multidetector Computed Tomography*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Organ Size
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Sex Factors
  • Subcutaneous Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Subcutaneous Fat / physiopathology
  • Time Factors