Child Physical Activity Associations With Cardiovascular Risk Factors Differ by Race

Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2016 Aug;28(3):397-406. doi: 10.1123/pes.2015-0189. Epub 2016 Feb 17.


Purpose: The objective of this study was to characterize the relationship between objectively-measured physical activity (PA) and cardiovascular risk factors in 7-year-old children and test the hypothesis that it differs by race.

Methods: Cross-sectional study of 308 7-year-old children drawn from a major US metropolitan community. PA (moderate-to-vigorous, MVPA; light, LPA; and inactivity, IA) was measured by accelerometry (RT3). Cardiovascular risk factors included BMI, blood pressure, and serum lipids, glucose and insulin concentrations. General linear modeling was used to evaluate the independent associations between PA measures and cardiovascular risk factors and interactions by race.

Results: In black children, greater time spent in PA was independently associated with lower levels of triglycerides (MVPA and LPA, both p < .01), glucose (MVPA, p < .05), and insulin (MVPA, p < .01); these associations were not evident in white children. Across races, greater inactivity was independently associated with greater low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in overweight participants (p < .01) but not in normal weight participants. No PA measure was associated with BMI, systolic blood pressure, or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Conclusions: In this cohort of 7-year-old children, the relationship between PA and some cardiovascular risk factors differed by race. These findings may have implications for targeting of PA promotion efforts in children.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Child
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood
  • Male
  • Ohio
  • Overweight / blood
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Whites


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Triglycerides